This week I was in London to give the opening talk at the inaugural Healthcare Apps Summit organised by PharmaIQ. I also managed to pop down to Wired Health and thought it might be helpful to share some of my notes from the meeting – you can also click on the following links to view My notes from the Healthcare Apps Summit and My notes from Nesta’s Preventative & Personalised Healthcare meeting.
Wired Health (29th April 2014)
This new one day meeting was organised by Wired Magazine publisher Condenast and took place in the new Euston Square HQ of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Designed to introduce, explain and predict the coming trends facing the medical and personal healthcare industries the event was focused on what was billed as a “tremendous technology-led revolution. From genomics to digital medicine, synthetic biology to neuroscience… …From robotics and repairing the body to data-driven health and neuroscience“.
As we watch the healthcare industry rapidly adopting mHealth I found the title of the event to be a little unfortunate eg. the world of healthcare wants ‘unwired health’ more than ‘wired health’. All the same it proved a draw for an interesting speaker line up and main stage speakers included:
The event also hosted the ‘BUPA Startup Stage’, sponsored by Health insurer BUPA, designed to provide opportunities for ‘fast-growing new companies in the health sector to share their stories and for delegates to interact directly with their founders and first hires‘. Presenters/Companies that presented on the Startup stage included:
> Keira Barr, ARO
A contextual intelligence company that builds apps such as Brightly to help people lead happier, healthier, and generally more amazing lives. Brightly uses geolocation and indoor/outdoor tracking to measure your UV exposure, calculate your individual risk for skin damage such as melanoma, provide accumulated UV exposure over weeks and months, and warn users when UV exposure levels have become dangerous.
> Ami Karnik, Azoi Inc
Azoi is a technology company dedicated to helping people improve their lives. Wello, its first product, is a mobile health tracker disguised as a smartphone cover that quickly, accurately and easily measures vitals instantaneously syncing the data to an accompanying iPhone or Android app.
> Peter Hames, Big Health/Sleepio
Big Health is a healthcare company that delivers personalised behavioural medicine via web and mobile to the highest standards of clinical evidence. Its first product, Sleepio, is a digital sleep improvement programme.
> Jen Hyatt, Big White Wall
Big White Wall is a digital mental health and wellbeing service. Its community enables members to self-manage their care, with the collaboration of clinicians and peers, through a choice of therapeutic services available 24/7 via mobile, tablet and PC devices. Designated a “High Impact Innovation” by the NHS, it covers the UK and New Zealand, with contracts covering 27 percent of UK adults.
> David Plans, BioBeats
Using an iPhone camera, BioBeats can generate “experiental” music dynamically created from its user’s heartbeat. It gives the user biological information about how their body is operating and can highlight over-exertion or states of stress. BioBeats works by reading blood flow as it enters a person’s finger, using the beat as a basis of musical composition.
> Fiona Nielson, DNAdigest
DNAdigest is a social enterprise that’s building a software platform and open API to provide secure queries across genetic databases that delivers immediate anonymised results. Using this platform it hopes to accelerate genetics research.
> Olga Kubassova, Image Analysis
The identification and tracking of localised inflammatory disease in the human body by MRI is a rapidly growing area in medicine. Diagnosis and treatment decisions increasingly depend on MRI images. But there is often little or no sensitive quantitative measurement of the original lesion or its response to drug treatment. This is the gap being filled by Image Analysis, which is involved in international clinical trials and in use at major clinical institutes in EU and USA.
> Gilad Gome, mirOculus
mirOculus has developed a test that detects microRNA in the bloodstream, allowing for early diagnosis of cancerous tumours. The technology means that a single, non-invasive blood test can screen for multiple cancers, cheaply and accurately, in less than an hour. The results of each sample are recorded in real time and get sent to mirOculus servers, allowing for the creation of a microRNA database to identify correlations and causations of several diseases.
> Sofia Svanteson, Ocean Observations
Ocean Observations is a digital design agency based in Stockholm and Tokyo. Many of its clients work in the technology and health sector. Its most recent projects include helping Karolinska Institutet, a Swedish a medical university, to design an online screening for early diagnosis of chronic diseases; and developing a concept for Riskminder, a risk analysis firm, in which citizens detect their likelihood of developing chronic diseases based on genetics and lifestyle.
> Andrew Bastawrous, Peek
Acronym for portable eye examination kit, Peek is a smartphone-based system that carries out a full range of ophthalmic diagnostic tests. It’s the brainchild of a team of ophthalmologists, developers and engineers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde and the Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research. Peek detects a range of visual deficiencies from blindness and visual impairment, to cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and others.
> Martín Blinder, Tictrac
Tictrac is a personal analytics platform that allows people to take control of their data, display it in a dashboard and use it to inform better life decisions. The idea is to gather data from multiple sources – such as apps and manual input – and collate it for better time management and to help achieve goals, such as losing weight.
> Jean Nehme, Touch Surgery
Touch Surgery uses cognitive-task analysis to help medical students. The digital lessons rely on vivid and realistic 3D environments to improve understanding of complex surgical procedures. Touch Surgery keeps track of students’ training progress, plots learning curves and helps them work on their weaker medical skills.
> Pablo Graiver, TrialReach
There is a problem in drug development. It takes too long and costs too much to develop effective, new medical treatments. This is in part because researchers can’t find the patients they need to complete their clinical trials. TrialReach.com is an open platform connecting patients with medical researchers conducting clinical trials. The approach has led to Forbes to assert that, by bridging the gap between researchers and patients, TrialReach is democratising clinical trials.
> Marco Peluso, Qardio
Qardio is a technology company focused on heart health monitoring and its innovation. Qardio’s two devices, QardioArm and QardioCore, were developed using proprietary technologies, user friendly features and create a base of the Qardio health platform. Qardio’s mission is to create smart, beautifully designed products people will want to use. We believe that medical devices that are easy to use, look great, work well and provide robust accurate data are the ones users will love to have and doctors will find useful.
> Josipa Majic, Teddy the Guardian
Teddy the Guardian is a plush teddy bear with built-in medical sensors to track a child’s temperature, heart rate and oxygen levels through “smart paws”, upon contact. Being sick, visiting the doctor or hospital can make even the bravest of us uncomfortable. These feelings are multiplied in children, making parents and guardians more anxious. Teddy the Guardian is designed to support children, parents – even physicians – in making the medical care less stressful.
> Juuso Nissilä, VALKEE Oy
Finnish medical technology company Valkee has developed a portable bright light headset, to replicate the mood-elevating effects of sunlight. It works by channeling bright light directly to photosensitive regions of the brain through the ear canal and skull. Valkee claims it can alleviate seasonal depression and its symptoms. Valkee has a medical device approval in class 2(a) with CE-certification in the EU. Clinical studies are underway to fully understand Valkee’s benefits.
> Satoshi Sugie, WHILL
Mobility scooters and wheelchairs, have an image problem. WHILL is dedicated to designing and building the next generation of personal mobility devices and breaking the stigma attached to such devices. WHILL’s Type-A is compact, highly manoeuvrable and features a four-wheel drive system. It also forces the user to sit in an upright and ‘active’ position. It has three speeds and is driven by a mouse-like controller. CEO Satoshi Sugie previously worked at the NISSAN Technical Centre in Japan.
The exhibition area featured 20+ demos and included some interesting mHealth and mHealth related tech. Not least of these was the world’s biggest mobile manufacturer Samsung showcasing S Health on the new Galaxy S5 and Gearfit heart rate sensing smart watch. I wonder what it would take before we ever see Apple doing something like exhibiting at a tech innovation show like Wired Health?
Sony Mobile was also there with it’s FitBit/Jawbone UP!/Nike Fuel rival:
It amazes me that Sony Mobile can be so out of touch with this market that it’s named it’s tracker the “Swrio”. Across from them in the exhibition space was Pebble who have branded their new watch as the “Steel” and I think this really highlights how low the entry barriers are for the manufacturing of consumer tech. Can you imagine 20 years ago a crowd funded rival being able to even compete with Sony’s Walkman in the personal stereo market?
I would’ve thought bluetooth would’ve done away with direct connectivity to smartphones but the presence of Apple Lightning chargers on devices like Zensorium’s Tinke tracker might suggest that the buyers of these accessories is still largely overlapping with consumers who have Apple’s range topping smartphone. This is a bit of a surprise to me as I’d thought Apple had made quite a bit of noise about the improved native pedometer abilities of the iPhone 5S (thanks to it’s M7 processor):
TomTom’s booth showcasing their £300 “Runner Cardio” reminds us of what a bloodbath this wearable device market has become – no surprise that even Nike has decided to shift its focus from hardware to software.
MC10’s “BioStamp smart sensing sticker” is a key part of Reeboks wearable sensor strategy. Worn like a temporary tattoo this device can collect data and share it to an athlete’s smartphone. THe company also produce the “Checklight” head impact sensor that fits into a Reebok designed skullcap and can alert trainers of injuries in impact sports like American football and Rugby:
Sensoria Fitness have taken a slightly different approach with their low energy bluetooth T-Shits, Sports Bras and Socks that are “infused with textile sensors that gather heart rate, force and pressure data” and use this to provide athletes “with a variety of information such as heart rate, breathing rate, foot landing technique, and cadence metronome, presented as engaging visuals and graphics”:
IntelClinic showcased their NeuroOn ‘Brainwave monitoring sleep mask‘ that’s been ‘designed to facilitate polyphasic sleeping patterns, or “power naps”. This allows the wearer to sleep much more efficiently,reducing required sleeping time to just two to six hours a day‘.
Cisco dominated the exhibition space with ‘connected home’ demos largely consisting of door bells, lights and a slow cooker that could be remotely operated using a smartphone app.
There are lots of independent living opportunities in devices like the Piper (http://getPiper.com) that enable video connectivity and remote control of home appliances (via Z Wave control) and I think it’s going to be via consumer devices like this that the market will be led (rather than expensive kit that’s bought through 5 year NHS tendering processes that require professional installation and maintenance/monitoring contracts):
It surprised me that there wasn’t a mobile Smoke/CO Monitor being demoed. I think a big barrier to acceptance of connectivity in the home is that all too often it’s seen by consumers to be a technology looking for a problem to fix. By adding connectivity to an invaluable sensor that WE ALREADY HAVE IN OUR HOMES I think companies like Cisco stand a much better chance of getting engagement with consumers.
Cisco also demoed an “Extended Care” service that consisted of a “Pre Appointment Questionnaire”. Considering the published evidence that supports the use of interactive questionnaires I find it a bit disappointing that this is considered to be in 2014 an extension of care (it should be a basic tenant of the process) but it’s great to see a tech power house like Cisco are now joining the effort to educate Clinicians about the opportunity to leverage the ability that Patients and Carers have to use well designed software to share their medical history and concerns before visiting a Doctor.
Also on the Cisco booth was Parrot’s Flower Power sensor that provided a reminder of how slow the home care market is to adopt mobile technology. The last major European Heatwave led to 35,000 avoidable deaths and should act to warn over zealous regulators that if they continue to make mHealth an area that’s attractive to innovators potted plants will be more cared for than some of societies most vulnerable:
UMotif (a British startup that was recently awarded 1st place in Cisco’s Big Awards) demonstrated their ‘digital health platform’ a suite of mHealth apps that support patients and clinicians in health self-management and shared decision making:
The Kolibree.com booth announced a Kickstarter Campaign to give you the chance to fund the next effort to put a radio in the developing mouth of children and create young people who are completely dependent on technology. Of course you could just go out and buy a bluetooth toothbrush from BeamBrush.com or Oral B (http://connectedtoothbrush.com) but there are probably even easier ways to blast radio into a childs developing mouth (remember: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should):
It was interesting to see the consumer mHealth device brands going head to head with competitive offerings eg. Withings.com
and newest market entrant Qardio.com
I’m going to try and publish a head to head comparison of these devices to try and find out which are the most accurate and which designs Patients prefer and why. Until then I think it’s interesting to just see the different interpretations designers take when the screen of the medical device is moved to the smartphone/tablet.
NeuroSky’s bluetooth connected Brainwave/MindWave headset promises to help you “Discover and Learn Neuroscience through your Brainwaves” with the aim of making ‘biosensor technology available on a mass market scale’:
Zephyr (acquired last week by global medical device and supplies manufacturer Covidien) showcased their BioPatch offering an adhesive patch that can monitor a Patients heart rate, respiration and activity levels and send the information to their smartphone for processing or further action. An interesting acquisition because on the Zephyr website all the adhesive contact strips are clearly ‘3M’ branded (3M is a key competitor to Covidien):
The proposed Ekoscope device (being proposed to combine 8 electrode ECG and Stethoscope) looked interesting and I wonder how it would compare to something like GE’s VScan:
Audi profiled the self parking car that they demoed at CES and Ford showcased their ECG monitoring seat. There are lots of lessons to be learnt from the auto industry and I can lots of ways Ford could use this (eg. to make the argument for turnaround of the horrendous design direction the company has taken with their any-colour-as-long-as-it’s-black million button switchgear) but I can think of a thousand good reasons off the top of my head as to why this tech isn’t going to be appearing in a commercial vehicle in this decade.
FIO’s Deki HE910 Reader is a rugged piece of diagnostic lab equipment that can be used by frontline healthcare workers to read a wide range of rapid diagnostic tests. It’s a step change from what’s been seen before because it has it’s own embedded 3G mobile connectivity that enables it to operate anywhere on the planet (just as with Telcare’s M2M Glucometer it can be bought with embedded connectivity or you could put a SIM card into it) and it runs on a mobile phone based operating system (so you install Android apps onto it) which enable the user experience to be easily modified for specific applications.
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