Market Forces Begin to Cut Through the Hype on Mobile Health Tech

By Bruno Nardone

The organizers of the Health 2.0 Conference have always done a great job of providing a platform to showcase the latest technologies to empower consumer driven health. Biometric and/or remote monitoring offerings are celebrated for their creative application of technology to connect people and measure their well-being. Fueled by the explosion of interest in mobile technology, anything that could bounce health data to a smart phone and up to the cloud to be regurgitated onto slick dashboards was all the rage.

For three days at this year’s 9th annual Health 2.0 Conference in Silicon Valley, California, last week attendees were introduced to cutting edge technology innovations that are aimed at transforming healthcare. In previous years however, new for the sake of new sometime crowded out the importance of a strong value proposition. Attendees also had to consider what was shared through a hype filter. For example, a luminescent scarf that changed colors based on the wearer’s stress level, while interesting, not surprisingly found little adoption with mental health professionals. This year the tone changed.

While the conference bias is still toward empowering individuals with information to better self-manage their condition, a new theme seemed to be weaving its way into presentations around interoperability and integration of solutions to traditional Health IT systems. It was refreshing to see this as too often we are been provided with technical capabilities and told how they should be used in clinical practice only to see uptake stall with a handful of technology wonks or as a passing fad. It seems the market (health systems, providers, payers), through its normal purchasing/adoption behaviors has delivered a message of “work with us and we’ll pay attention, push ahead without valuing our needs and you’re on your own.” While empowering patients is great, those same patients have relationships with others for their care, and those others usually work in traditional healthcare settings. Most of the presentations in this year’s venue spoke directly to the need for new technologies to fit into the practical workflow of patients, physicians, and extended care teams – sound guidance for any solution strategy.

It is great that a platform like this conference exists to celebrate leading edge technologies and share innovation with a broader audience.  It is also encouraging to see that the recognition of how solutions fit within an ecosystem of existing investments and technologies is critical for their long term success.  Whether at a conscious level, or because of market pressures influencing their stakeholders, I applaud the organizers of the Health 2.0 Conference for striking this balance in the agenda of this year’s event.

Bruno Nardone is a Vice President at Health Advances

Opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors and do not reflect the views of Health Advances LLC, its management, or affiliates

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