Health technology gadgets – good, bad or transformative?

28-06-17Iain Shield

By Iain Shield, Design and Development Leader

Digital innovations and their adoption, specifically health related gadgets, could indicate a shift to consumers becoming the key opinion leaders of their own healthcare. Is a big change coming?

Personally I love tech and can easily be absorbed by a new development idea that challenges the tech of yesterday. I remember, many years ago now, visiting The London Trocadero and wearing a seriously heavy helmet and over engineered controls to experience one of the first virtual reality amusement arcade games. Yet last week I picked up a free virtual reality device that I slot my smart phone inside to advertise a tech companies show reel. How things have moved on. But has tech moved on for serious consumer healthcare applications or is “healthcare tech” faddish and skin deep?

Check out the top ten healthcare gadgets on show at CES consumer tech tradeshow Las Vegas and decide for yourself if the smart hairbrush is on the cutting edge of healthcare tech!

http://medicalfuturist.com/10-best-health-technology-innovations-ces-2017/

I feel we are on the brink of amazing new developments and it is exciting to be living through the advancements. Miniaturization of glucose monitoring in contact lenses : https://verily.com/projects/sensors/smart-lens-program/ or continuous glucose monitoring through a tiny disposable sensor: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/medical-devices/google-s-verily-dexcom-aim-to-launch-mini-glucose-monitor-2018-next-gen-by-2021 are awesome inventions both will change lives and transform diabetes management. What I find interesting on the fiercebiotech link is the statement “That's what we're shooting for every day because we know that's what patients want”. Patients’ opinions are sophisticated and well informed, patients’ voices are loud and can be heard through many channels, patients are becoming more influential than ever. Patient demand coupled with increasingly sophisticated tech is an enormous opportunity, those who react and respond well will be the winners.

However, the industry also does faddy, skin deep tech! Last year I received an android smartwatch as a secret santa gift, it was £8.99 and wasn’t able to pair! Even the v­ery latest, first generation smartwatch from one of the giants had me questioning it’s benefits, as to do anything meaningful I need my phone anyway. I realize though, that we on a tech journey, and we aren’t that far away from the start, emerging tech releases iteratively and first generation or early products sacrifice themselves for their own, and the industries future development. Is it tech for techs sake? Sometimes, but I think of those products as a marker for where we are on the tech journey; near the start!

Wearables that collect user (patient?) data have exploded onto the market, monitoring is the station we are at. The industry doesn’t really know what to do with the data and is fragmented. The next stop is passive diagnostics and patients alterted to conditions way in advance of symptoms. Will the clinicians’ role slide to confirmation of a tech discovered diagnosis? Will tech giants swallow up vast pharma companies?

So is tech for serious consumer healthcare applications or is it faddish and skin deep? Both of course, and it’s exciting to be living through the emergence of life changing technological advances. Most professionals working in the MedTech space recognize how important Health Technology Assessment (HTA)is for paving the way from innovative concept to successful product launch. However, defining and communicating the value of MedTech, within and independently from HTA presents unique challenges. For further information on successful MedTech market access strategies and support please email us at Access@TeamDRG.com or call the DRG Abacus team on +44(0)1869 241281

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