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Health Populi 01/07/2016

Consumer Electronics Show – Putting People At the Center

Consumer Electronics Show 2016

As we concluded our panel on The Wizards of Maternal Health kicking off today’s launch of the 2016 Digital Health Summit, co-located with the 2016 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, our diverse team concurred that there’s more than enough “technology” on the convention floor. The challenge now for health is to make connections between the islands of devices, and generate meaningful data and culturally contextual information and support for consumers (patients, caregivers, people) and health providers.

Here at the CES, it’s all about the supply side of the equation – for health, that means digital health tools, wearables, remote health monitors, personal emergency response systems (PERS – the “I’m- falling-and-I-can’t-get-up” stuff), food tracking, sleep management, and increasingly more medical-oriented tech to help people manage chronic pain, diabetes, respiratory conditions, and other more disease-targeting devices.

Again, this is the supply side. But in a well-functioning market, the demand side must be considered. That demand side is the expressed willingness among people to pay for digital health tech – and these “payors” have traditionally been health insurance plans, employers, unions, government agencies (THINK: Federal Medicare, Federal+State Medicaid, the VA, et. al.), and other health plan sponsors.

Increasingly, thought, the patient is the payor, under the growing high-deductible heath plan era for people buying insurance in health marketplaces online or paying health insurance premiums for plans offered in the workplace.

In this patient-as-payor mode, the CES supply side showcased hundreds of options of shiny new things that consumers could pay for: the newest activity trackers from Fitbit, devices and apps in the growing health data ecosystem being built by Under Armour, the pain management device developed by Quell/Neurometrix, sensor tech for babies (such as the Mimo onesie and Edwin the Duck), and even health-tech for your pet.

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