CES 2019

CES: How far Digital Health has come

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show featured more innovative solutions for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating illnesses and advancing healthcare delivery than ever before. Here, Mimi focuses on five areas of particular interest for those looking to get – or stay – well, electronically!

About 11 years ago I went on a quest to discover other “wellness devices” – besides the Fitbit – at the Consumer Electronics Show. I was among the first to enter the Las Vegas Convention Center that morning, and the last to leave. After searching all day, all I had to show for my investigation were tired feet and a mental picture of a PERS unit – you know, the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” emergency button by Philips, encased in Plexiglas. Fast-forward to this year, when 511 companies registered as exhibitors in the Show’s Digital Healthcare category – 25% more than last year.

Here are five categories of highlights from the CES Digital Health exhibit in 2019:

First, the Show’s gone way beyond gadgets. For example: the EyeQue Vision Check enables users to conduct vision tests at home using a Bluetooth-powered app, then generate “EyeGlass Numbers.” While not a prescription (because they don’t require a doctor’s signature), an increasing number of retailers will honor that “number” so you can purchase otherwise “prescribed” glasses directly from them.

Second, your Cardiologist in IN – your wrist. First there was the Apple Watch Series 4, that could take EKG. Now, for less than half the price, the Withings’ Move fitness watch can also – as well as track your sleep. The Chronolife vest continuously measures six key physiological stats in real time, so that the CHF patients who wear it can better anticipate an oncoming heart attack. And, the Omron’s HeartGuide claims to be the first clinically accurate, wearable blood pressure monitor, which – when coupled with its app, tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned, as well as the quality of your sleep.

Third, for Snorers – and their sleeping companions – help is on the way. If the Hupnos sleep mask “hears” you snoring, it vibrates and (thanks to its built-in accelerometer) will determine the best position to decrease your snoring. Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band already knows the answer to the “best position” question: it’s on your side. So when wearing the band around your chest, when it senses you’re on your back, vibrations (which can increase in intensity) nudge you to turn to your side.

Fourth, wondering if you’re pregnant or have a UTI? There’s an app for that. UK-based TestCard.com is launching an app that turns a smartphone camera into a scanner, that when coupled with their test strips, can detect a urinary tract infection, pregnancy and ovulation. The results can also be relayed to the user’s providers.

Fifth, CES got sexy, kind of. The YO Home Sperm Test launched an updated, FDA-cleared version that includes a quality score – that compares the user’s results with data from the World Health Organization. While not claiming to be a replacement for clinical infertility treatment, it’s easy to test the man – and of course there’s an app that gives them an assessment.

Perhaps the most publicized consumer electronic of the show was the one that was first awarded a CES Innovation Award, then had it revoked when the Powers That Be within the male-dominant Consumer Technology Association, that puts on the Show, declared that it was “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane [and] not in keeping with CTA’s image.” Of course, it was the micro-robotic Lora DiCarlo Osé sex toy geared toward women. Turns out much of the outcry was because the CTA previously approved male-oriented sex tech to be exhibited – including VR pornography and a robotic sex doll for men. Given the brouhaha the Osé generated – largely about sexual discrimination, it will be interesting to watch if the CTA changes its collective mind next year.

Let us know, if you had a CES favorite exhibit!

by Mimi Grant, President, Adaptive Business Leaders (ABL) Organization – Round Tables and Events for CEOs of Technology and Healthcare Companies