Health Devices & Interfaces In The New Consumer-Centric Ecosystem
We are a culture obsessed with consumption- that fact is undeniable judging by the sales of Halloween costumes and candy that begin right after the first week in September and the Christmas windows that are stocked well before Thanksgiving even rolls around. We are attracted to all things new, all things glittery, and all things promising to better us. So is the case with health wearables, the latest marketable intersection of health and technology. But as we are faced with the trend of increasing consumer and health technology engagement, it seems appropriate to question when heath wearables morph from more than just the newest gadgets to become facilitators of an increasingly healthy life.
The latest and greatest in health devices and interfaces were showcased at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference- highly advanced technology, futuristic designs, and seamless integration were abundant, lending many of the health technologies and wearables flashy marketing appeal. There was everything from Sensoria Fitness Socks, which track vitals and exercise metrics, to Vic Strecher’s graphic novel and accompanying app to measure awareness, On Purpose. There is no doubt that wearables will fill the Christmas stockings and spaces under the tree this winter, but what will prevent them from remaining in their plastic packages or stuffed in a drawer or closet?
For starters, the increasing ubiquity of health tech interfaces is making these products and services more appealing for long term use for a population where almost 40% is interested in a health tracking device. The ability to share data quickly and seamlessly, without having to deal with forgotten passwords or incompatible systems is an enormous advantage in the world of health devices. Another game-changer will be the implementation of incentive based programs that encourage employees to complete health and wellness tasks based on monetary rebates and bonuses, like the Jiff program that allows users to customize personal goals and profit when they meet them. Many of the health tech solutions focused on the integration of body and mind, which is an element of paramount importance in creating a device with true staying power, as one that offers solutions for wholistic health.
The emergence of health devices is just one facet of the changing consumer health landscape that encompasses new partnerships and roles for innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. Health 2.0’s inaugural event, WinterTech, will take place in San Francisco this January and will address the changing market of global health, wellness, and technology.