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Disappointing Digital Health Experience at CES

Posted on January 11, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This was the 11th or 12th year I’ve attended CES. Living in Las Vegas, it’s easy for me to attend and enjoy the tech playground that is CES. It’s a fun experience for nerds like me to see all the amazing technology. Plus, it’s been fascinating watching the evolution of the event over the year.

When I first started attending CES over a decade ago, there was basically no digital health at the conference. This year, the digital health and fitness section of CES took up probably 1/3 to half of the Sands Convention Center. That’s a huge difference. It’s really like the digital health industry grew from nothing right before my eyes. Turns out the same is true for a bunch of other industries like 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, and Drones to name a few.

While I always get value connecting with many of the people that attend CES, I have to admit that the digital health experience at CES this year was an extremely disappointing experience for me. I did meet a few companies that I’ll write about in the future, but for the most part innovation really seemed to be lacking. I’d describe most of the growth as me too products and big flashy look at us booths.

The former is to be expected. The me too nature of technology always happens. However, the later is what was so disappointing. As I walked by hundreds of booths, they didn’t communicate any sort of unique and interesting innovation. There was a lot of flash and show, but the substance of what was new, interesting, innovative, game changing, etc was totally missing from the experience. Is that because they weren’t doing anything that unique and interesting? I’m afraid that’s the case for many of them.

Given the fact that CES has something like 1 million square feet of exhibit space, I’m sure there was a lot of innovation happening. However, on the digital health side it all felt very incremental to me. Maybe there were some really amazing innovations that were hiding. Or maybe I couldn’t hear about those innovations because the club music in the Under Armour booth was too loud.

I still enjoyed CES because of some of the people who I met with during the event. It’s just too bad the booths have headed towards sizzle and forgot about the steak.

Are We In a Digital Health Bubble?

Posted on January 7, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As I walked through the exhibit hall at CES, I must admit that I was extremely overwhelmed by the number of digital health options that were on display. Certainly the size and grandeur of the booths was off the charts. Take a quick look at part of the iFit booth:
Digital Health at CES
Yes, that is 4 girls walking on treadmills on a vaulted stage. Of course, this was maybe 1/3 of their booth. Behind me they had a massive closed room and another girl walking on a different treadmill. Plus, upon closer inspection you might also notice that they have a bed on the vaulted stage and cloth coming down from the ceiling. I think they officially call that cloth “silks.” While I didn’t see it, you can tell that they’re going to have a Cirque du Soleil performer working the silks to attract attention to their booth. For those keeping track at home, there is a great sleep sensor from EarlySense on the bed.

While many might consider much of this absurd. The show and staging doesn’t really bother me too much. Since I organize the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference, I understand how hard it is to stand out at a conference. No doubt this booth left an impression. iFit even got exposure in this blog post because of it. We could argue if it was a good investment or not, but that’s a different story.

All I could think about as I walked through the incredible number of digital health solutions at CES was “Not all of these can survive.

Of course, many in the startup world would say that 90% of startups fail and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many of the companies exhibiting at CES will disappear. That’s true, but I never felt like this in past years. In past years at CES it felt like a number of players with some overlap and some competitive pressures, but that there was plenty of pie for everyone. This year has me wondering if that’s still the case.

As I mentioned, I’m hoping to publish a list of all the various health tracking devices. I realized that this going to take a lot of work. I’m still planning to work on it, but it’s going to take some time to do it right. One person I talked to said that there are about 700 health tracking devices out there. Of course, the real challenge is that 500 of them still don’t actually deliver (ie. they haven’t gone to market with a product or they can’t deliver the results they say they can deliver). Even 200 legitimate companies makes for a really competitive environment where people still talk about Fitbit and the Apple Watch and don’t know many of the others.

Let me be clear though. I think there’s a ton of tremendous innovation happening in the digital health space. From a consumer perspective all of this competition (bubble if you will) is great! Competition will push vendors to take what they’re doing to a new level. We’ll have a ton of amazing discoveries that will ripple through all of these companies. This is all great and will work out well for consumers and healthcare.

Plus, on the fringes you find some people doing unique things. The problem is that many of those companies have a hard time being heard with all of the other companies making so much noise. Sometimes I’m talking literal noise. I think it was the Under Armour booth that felt like they were a Las Vegas night club. It made it a lot of fun to visit and certainly attracted attention. I just wouldn’t want to be exhibiting at the booth next to them.

Fitness Tracker Apps Ranked

Posted on January 21, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Time recently ranked the various Fitness trackers. I can never resist a list, so I thought I’d share their list. They offer some more commentary on their list, but I think the totality of the list itself is the most interesting thing. Look how many fitness tracker options there are out there.

26. Polar Electro Wearlink + Transmitter with Bluetooth

25. Under Armour Armour39

24. Sigma Sport R1

23. Scosche Rhythm

22. Adidas Pacer Bundle

21. Polar Electro H7

20. Polar Electro H6

19. Polar Electro Stride Sensor

18. Iqua Beat

17. BodyMedia FIT Link

16. Fitbit Zip

15. LifeTrak Move C300

14. SYNC Burn

13. Jawbone Up24

12. BodyMedia FIT Core

11. Striiv Play

10. Nike Fuelband

9. Nike Fuelband SE

8. Jawbone UP

7. Lark Life

6. Fitbit Flex

5. Withings Pulse

4. Misfit Wearables Shine

3. Basis B1

2. Fitbit One

1. Fitbit Force

Under Armour Biometric Health Data Collection Shirt

Posted on March 31, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Leave it to sports to come out with some really creative and innovative technology. I know I’ve spend far too much money to go to sporting events and so it makes sense that they’d have money to pay for some really cool healthcare devices.

Medgadget recently posted about an Under Armour Biometric shirt that the NFL was using to measure athletic performance.

The shirt has electronic sensors that measure heart and breathing rates and skin-surface temperature, and a triaxial accelerometer to measure force and direction. All the data that it collects is sent out via Bluetooth. The amazing thing is that this shirt and it’s “bug” has 2 gigabytes of storage along with its processor and accelerometer. That’s more than most devices like this. Although, you do have the cost of the “bug” which comes in a removable sensor pack.

While this is really cool for the NFL who wants to test the athletic capability of an athlete, I think there could be some really interesting uses of this technology in the home. What if we wore this shirt when we are working out at home on the treadmill or when we go for a run. All of that data could be uploaded to a PHR or other website where all the data could be graphed and be used to monitor the health of an individual. Although, I bet the cost of the device will need to come down to make a consumer version of this product.

Here’s a video which shows more about the Under Armour E39: