With the COVID-19 pandemic still dominating the narrative across the world, it wasn’t surprising that health and wellness tech was one of the top focus areas at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022. The health category has grown significantly in recent years at CES, establishing the conference as the home for digital health tech innovation.
The lightspeed acceleration of health technology and innovation was on full display at CES, with the latest healthcare products, accessories, analytical systems, and service providers all tied together under the title of Digital Health Marketplace. Everything from remote health testing, monitoring, and diagnostics, to wearable tech, voice tech, biosensors and more.
One of the significant characteristics of the emerging digital health and medical era is systems thinking. A systems thinking approach views elements as part of a wider, dynamic system. At its core, systems thinking is aimed at understanding how different elements (eg, economic, social, ecological, technological, and human) are connected to each other within a larger system, the linkages, relationships, interactions, and behaviors (ie, causes and effects) between components, and their overall impact on the human system (intended and unintended physical and mental) outcomes.
Technology innovation is rapidly reshaping and redefining healthcare into a network of interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent elements—rather than lots of independent, siloed parts—that function as a unified whole. Value is shifting from standalone to integrated, interoperable data and multi-dimensional information exchange (ie, sharing and authorization) capable solutions. These are applied and integrated with blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to contribute to better care outcomes.
Notably, the tools and technologies (both hardware and software) featured at CES 2022 focused on three main areas:
- Empowering people to better understand, actively engage in, and take better control of their own health and well-being in new and creative ways
- Better connection between patients and their doctors to actually forge more democratic relationships with their healthcare providers and realize the promise of facilitating self-service
- Improving the productivity of healthcare professionals (practitioners and specialists) through access, optimization, and automation of professional medical information
CES emphasized tools and technologies that put data (signals), connectivity, diagnostics, discovery (sensing), and decisions (responding) at the core to continually enlighten, empower, and enable patients, caregivers, and doctors to better understand and manage health. Some of my favorites were:
- Vivoo: at-home wellness tracker, which uses urinalysis strips and an app to provide nutritional insights to the user’s smartphone
- Toto: an AI-based health-analyzing wellness toilet, which provides a daily check-up by examining the stool and urine
- Body Scan: a smart scale that provides readings for nearly every body part
- Bosch and Highmark Health: plans to use novel sensor technologies and AI to detect pediatric pulmonary disorders (eg, asthma)
- iMediSync iSyncWave™ Headset: an EEG (electroencephalogram, brainwave) and HRV (heart rate variability) digital mental healthcare platform that can provide early detection, treatment, and telemedicine services for mental conditions and disorders (eg, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia) through their patented AI brain mapping and scanning solution
- Care Wear: a wearable therapeutics product that deploys light therapy for pain management, treatment of soft tissue injury, wrinkles, and acne
- EveryDose: An AI-powered platform that helps patients stay on track with their medications while driving lower costs, better outcomes, and higher quality measures
- Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 3: a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that delivers real-time glucose readings to the wearer’s smartphone via a glucose sensor
- Origin Health: uses custom remote monitoring to empower caregivers by providing them real-time data on their loved ones’ whereabouts and any abnormal behaviors
- 6Degrees MyMove: a device that provides people who have lost the use of an arm or hand with full control of their smartphone or other smart device
As the evolution continues, expect to see more innovation around health and wellness tech (particularly telehealth, virtual reality, remote, and home care). Below are a few implications for our clients:
- As the shift from in-person facility-centric care to home/remote/virtual healthcare (including mental and behavioral) continues, digital and virtual marketplaces will evolve to align with patients’ on-demand needs. This will open secondary marketplaces for telehealth/telemedicine platforms and digital health tools (and devices) and support mechanisms which could impact R&D
- The role of major retailers like Walmart and CVS in healthcare will continue to expand. As more consumers, patients, and caregivers turn to these retailers for health needs, brands will need to find ways to integrate into their offered solutions
- The continued advances in digital technology and the internet of things (IoT) have generated more personal health care data. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a critical need for globally shareable healthcare resources. New and innovative solutions, via adopting blockchain technology, are needed to ensure personal health data is safely collected and linked, to adapt data processing distributivity for decision optimization, and to adhere to data safety and privacy requirements