Healthtech has made an appearance at CES for a few years now but nothing has done more to advance it than the global pandemic telemedicine home fitness devices and wearables are a lot more Helpful and necessary than ever.
And this year, CES, that trend continues with me to discuss the latest products are my fellow Seanet editors, Scott Stein, and Vanessa Hand Oriana.
It is so nice to be with you guys on stage virtually at least.
I know I’m missing the dry Las Vegas air but this will do.
[LAUGH] So there’s a lot to cover here.
I think that because we’re at the height of this pandemic and there has already been a lot of technology being developed around it.
And just us adapting to the new environment through health tech.
And we could talk about this topic for a long time, but I thought that maybe we would kick off with one of the topics that are probably top of everyone’s mind, which is how do I address my health care when, Going to the doctor’s office is actually going to potentially expose me to COVID or other illnesses, and therefore, I’m managing my health more at home.
So here we’re talking about telemedicine and wearables.
And Scott, what have you seen at CES this year?
Well, honestly not a ton because I think that one of the things about the show and that’s a in that but I want to preface this by saying we’re going to show where a lot of companies are still holding back a lot of things and I think a lot of them are still learning what’s happened during this pandemic.
That being said, I’ve been looking at a lot of blood pressure, and so, because I have high blood pressure, I’ve been curious to see.
Where some of the stories on that are unfolding.
And what I found is that it’s a slow going process.
And that indicates overall I think what people are looking for it with sensor advancement, things getting clearance.
It’s taking a while and part of that has been because of I think the way this year has been slowed down But also the way people have pivoted to looking at COVID and trying to detect instances of wellness.
It’s kind of a pivoting in the landscape.
Which is it’s almost ironic and maybe in my eyes an oversight because.
For example, we know that nearly a million people missed their scheduled mammograms this year due to COVID.
And that healthcare utilization was way down, nearly 30% meaning people were actually avoiding going to the doctor’s office and When we’re talking about something like blood pressure, and Scott, you can speak to this more specifically but blood pressure if you have hypertension, it’s something that needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis.
So, I think that the the dream has always been a wireless Apple watch like blood pressure monitor that would allow a person to Track and upload that data to the doctor’s office in real time.
So that there, so that any amnuances are detected.
I mean, where are we with that?
We had a really interesting Conversation with their own cell, they’re the makers of, optical heart rate technology, that’s in a lot of consumer products.
And, they’ve been trying to crack blood pressure for a while, in the conversation with them last year, right before the pandemic at the CS that actually happened in a physical place, they said that we would be capable of having earbuds.
That could get to pretty close to [INAUDIBLE] accuracy for blood pressure.
Now, part of the plans that changed there, were that they lost the ability to get additional study data because there weren’t as many people coming in and out of places to do testing.
So I think in some questions like it’s flow of steady data which was fascinating But what they were talking about is moving towards finger sensing next and approaching eventually, hopefully FDA clearance for that.
But what they were saying is that you’re going to get to the point where I think medical devices make more sense than watches, because that’s where a little more where the money is.
And that’s also where doctors can prescribe it.
And that’s what we’re looking at what omraam is doing with it with the self contained device that a doctor basically prescribes to you.
So the question to me is like how many what we say cutoff point where maybe these no longer end up on mainstream devices and they go back to medical standalones.>>And Vanessa, you taken a really close look at ECG technology.
So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been looking at.
Well, first off, I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to the trend that we’re seeing this year in terms of needing to bridge that gap between the doctor’s office and the home.
And we have these wellness devices that we’ve seen for a while.
Now, the Apple watch the Fitbits of the world, that kind of monitor, passively monitor things like heart rate.
Now even more things just kind of in the background.
And so you have in on one corner, that kind of consumer devices, that gives us very top level information.
And then on the other side of the spectrum, we’re starting to see a lot of specialized niche devices, which is kind of what Scott is talking about, where not the whole, not the whole entire population that has an Apple watch.
Needs these kind of devices like an ECG like blood pressure and we have glucose monitoring in there as well.
That really needs a means to be able to track this from home without going into the doctor’s office.
And that’s kind of I think that’s what we’re starting to see.
That kind of in between device between the Apple Watch and be between the actual Visit to the doctor’s office.
One that I saw this year at CES was a call to healthy you.
It’s a little device about this big but it’s capable of providing five different vital signs that you would normally only get at a doctor’s office including a seven lead ECG, as you mentioned Sharon SPO two so your blood oxygen levels your breathing rate Your heart rate information and your blood pressure.
Now, not all of this is going to get FDA clearance.
So a lot of these it’s important to acknowledge that there is a level of error when you are talking about consumer driven devices or things that We do get in the home that you’re not going to get the same level of accuracy as you would in the hospital.
But at least it’s kind of it’s getting there and it saves you a trip to the doctor’s office.
Now obviously it’s a good screening tool.
Pool that you can start a conversation with your doctor.
It won’t replace the doctor but it can be a good screening tool of whether or not you really need to go in for that doctor’s visit, which as you mentioned, Sharon is exposing us now that we are during this global pandemic.
So what this device does is that it has, Seven leads compared to the one lead that’s found on a lot of the consumer wearables including the Apple Watch.
So that’s almost I mean, it’s not to the point of the full 12 lead ECG that you would get at the hospital, but at least it paints a broader picture of what’s going on In your heart, which obviously the more information the better for a doctor so you can have that zoom visit with your doctor.
But in addition to that, you can provide that picture of those five different vital signs including that beta, broader look of your heart.
Now this product is going to launch supposedly in q1 or q3, it’s pending FDA clearance, at least for the ECG feature.
But it’s something that we’re going to start to see.
And as well as the the blood pressure stuff, Scott that you mentioned as well.
I think your point was very well taken about the accuracy and how much we can actually depend on these devices.
And that is to say that even if a device gets clearance from the FDA, there is still a chance that it might not be accurate for a couple of reasons.
So first is of course user error.
We’re talking about consumer devices.
We all have devices in our own homes that are in possession already that we have frustrations with and may not be using appropriately or correctly.
So now when we talk about health devices, that starts to the stakes are much higher when it comes to those Inaccuracies and with that there is a phenomenon that even occurs when you go to the doctor’s office and get your blood pressure taken, which is a person can be so stressed about getting their blood pressure measured that they actually.
Measure higher than what is the actual more correct reading.
So you’re at home maybe you’re fumbling with, with your at home blood pressure monitor, you get frustrated and then suddenly you have a spike in your reading.
So there are definitely some nuances there anything that needs to get worked out, but even then I think the thing that we’ve been waiting for is That connection or maybe even that acceptance by healthcare providers to actually utilize these devices.
And the fact that so many patients were able to jump on video, telemedicine calls this year was truly impressive because that is still not a common denominator for all consumers.
[CROSSTALK] You know, there’s anything
That was brought up by it to say with blood pressure, both Omron and valence held suggests and discussed the idea of not just doctors getting paid but people getting reimbursed on insurance, which is interesting because I think that’s a, maybe an underappreciated channel throughout all this is that.
Both of those kind of suggested app ads that when you get like the codes that not just the doctors can get into their records.
But that it can be something that can be registered that could that Medicare or that could pay for that your insurance could cover it could be prescribed for.
That’s another part of it cuz I think that if you’re gonna close the gap to like what is something that you really need and that a doctor is gonna wanna work with.
That’s part of the missing piece, I think with mainstream.
Who is gonna fit the bill kind of deal and sharing what you mentioned about, the error rate, I think One of the important things about what wearables and the consumer side of wearables, kind of like the smart watches they’re doing.
It’s that it’s enabling the continuous monitoring.
So maybe a spot check doesn’t become as important anymore because you have a continuous read.
So you ha you can set a baseline.
And so it’s not necessarily a specific number that you’re focused on, but they, you start to focus on the variation or the deviations.
From that baseline that you’ve set from all this continuous data that you’re constantly monitoring, so there’s, you know, there’s there’s the downside of Yes, the user error that these nice devices can bring, but there’s also the Tremendous opportunity that we have now with being able to monitor this data 24 seven on our wrists on you know whether you have a sleep monitor or something else that is monitoring 24 seven.
I just talked to a company that’s doing glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring things that weren’t Possible before and that’s where I think the opportunity lies and maybe it doesn’t matter or not that it doesn’t matter, but it becomes a little bit less important to have a specific number.
But just being able to set a baseline and knowing so much information about your body and it’s also opening up the possibility Of these massive medical studies.
Being able to have these sample sizes of now thousands of people.
Instead of people needing to go to a medical clinic signing up, and taking time out of their day to go for taking a medical study.
Now, all you have to do you can just do medical study passively with an apple watch with the Fitbit device.
And this Ideally, there’s already medical studies going ongoing right now, like with aura ring, or Fitbit that could enable the early detection or the onset of disease, which is maybe where this all may be going in the future.
At least as it pertains to Detection of COVID and and similar diseases that may have a specific pattern that can be detected by all this type of information.
And that’s obviously a top of mind for everybody the Koch COVID and COVID tracking.
And how are we going to get around this not just in terms of the telemedicine aspect, but also what we can do.
On our side to prevent that.
And preventative care is the obvious jackpot for not just healthcare providers who benefit morally, and financially from preventative health care but also most importantly, to patients and consumers who benefit from it too.
So, We talked a little bit about telemedicine and wearables and you know, I think the biggest theme of the show this year for again, obvious reasons, has been COVID technology.
So it’s really exciting to see some of these CES heavy hitters like LG jump into the space and say, hey, we’ve got solutions for this problem that is definitely not going away.
So, for example, they launched the a germ blasting or a mask that’s battery operated and also purifies the air that you breathe.
So, this one is interesting.
It has this Bane sort of style going on about it, battery operated definitely bulkier than your typical mask, especially when you’re talking about those three fold hospital masks, but I mean is this the future we for the foreseeable future as far as we know, right like even once vaccinations are distributed in mass masks aren’t necessarily going away.
For for American society that is a new thing to be wearing masks especially during flu season.
I mean, what is your guyses take on this sort of Advanced Math technology from LG.
Buoy I think of it like I do a lot of wearables even going to smart glasses like this is essential if you’re gonna use it to help yourself survive, but I don’t know.
There’s so many questions, I don’t know how it feels.
I don’t know.
What its battery life is like, I don’t know if it’s going to be too bulky to carry.
A lot of those things create weirdness.
We’re already in a battle getting making sure people wear masks period.
And The idea of a smart mask that you have to charge.
It depends on who it’s speaking to.
And I think these things sound good on paper until you figure out where you’d actually use it.
And also how reliable it is, obviously, I don’t want it going down and not working on for me when I’m out for a day.
So I have a lot of questions about that.
Yeah, I hope that this this kind of technology is not the future I for one hope so but I hope not.
But I think that there, there’s obviously a need for a very momentarily momentary need for it.
I hope that it becomes you know that we see certain elements of the COVID tech kinda trickled down into mainstream, but I don’t I hope that this is not one of them.
But we kinda mentioned like the the UV sanitizers or what do you call them the.
Air Purifiers that can eliminate the small particles that small COVID particles.
I hope that kind of technology just kind of seeps literally seeps in to our day to day instead of having to like.
Where these massive LG masks per se.
So I hope it all blends in together and the stuff that will persist is more, is less intrusive into our life.
As Scott pointed out.
Yeah, so that the in that category of technology that is less intrusive that is coming into our lives I Kohler, for example, introduced a touchless ritual, they introduced a whole toilet that has some of these Central’s technologies but if you’re like everybody else and you already have a toilet that’s perfectly serviceable.
Then you can add on this flush unit that you just wave your hand in front of and it flushes for you so I’m personally yeah yeah Scott is clapping and touching him clapping.
This is something that is very welcome.
I will say that as you can see here, these.
Touchless faucets are my least favorite things to interact with because they usually do not work.
I don’t know about you guys but back when we could go into the real world, they would have like a 20% working rate for me
so it’s cool to come into the home.
Whether or not it becomes a must have or a nice to have, I mean to the points that both of you guys were making like We will see.
And speaking of toilets, how about that toto toilet?
I don’t know what you’re talking about Sharon, can you please expand on what the toto toilet does?
Dive right in.
I will take the honors here.
Okay, I’ll back up first by saying real quick that there is this like weird, maybe medically necessary micro trend of stool analyses to help you figure out if your microbiome is.
Is all good and and maybe to help address some gastrointestinal issues, so [UNKNOWN] is like we think that everyone should have their stool analyzed and therefore we present to you a toilet that is actually going to let you know, for example, and you need to eat more salmon or you know have more omega threes in your diet.
Do you guys get excited about this kind of stuff?
[LAUGH] Yeah, no.
No, I’m confused.
I just wonder how this plays out-
Like I have a hard enough time shopping well and I get nutritional advice from my doctor.
My you know, hey my toilet told me I need to eat more brand or like [LAUGH]
Vitamin D seems low.
Did you check your toilet sensors?
Yeah, five questions about the mask.
I got a lot of questions about my school and now.
I feel like everybody just turned the color of the CNET sign behind us all of a sudden.
But I mean, that’s the other downside of all this health technology, right?
It’s like a lot of TMI.
And you know, BMI and every every permutation of the, [LAUGH] these acronyms right?
And so I think, to me personally, that starts to become into the TMI but you know that that doesn’t mean that there’s not a need sure and as you pointed out, and I did mention that glucose monitoring and that kind of that the continuous glucose monitoring it is a little like you do still have to wear something on the all the time it’s not an Apple Watch app by any means but but it it can tell you elevations like how your blood sugar is x over time throughout the day with whether you eat whether you exercise and when what how your blood sugar is spiking throughout the day that kind of information seems a little bit more useful to me than than my than my stool, maybe achieving the same results without having to rely on my poop I do a lot of stool analysis.>> What?.>> We leave it the casual stool analyses, you know, to to maybe like a fifth tier of priority.
When it comes to our health so on that note, thank you so much Scott and Vanessa know that’s a, you were ever ending on top.