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Consumers Win Big at Consumer Electronics Show Digital Health Summit
March 26, 2012 -
In January in Las Vegas, the 44th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — dubbed "the world's largest consumer technology show" — allowed companies to announce new products and showcase exciting and innovative new products, devices, and technologies. It also offered consumers, retailers, and industry insiders a birds-eye view of emerging tech trends to come. Of particular significance to health care consumers, the 2012 CES included the first Digital Health Summit to promote and facilitate conversation surrounding the growing volume and increased presence of mobile health or "mHealth," and the overall trend of emerging consumer-focused technologies designed to monitor, assess, and communicate about various areas of our health and well-being.

Healthcare consumers are experiencing a revolution in technology and unprecedented information access that empowers them to incorporate new mHealth tools into their daily lives. The fact that the largest consumer electronics show added a digital health summit for the first time this year points to the wave of the future. Companies are focusing on creating new products, apps, and devices that enhance health and give patients access to appropriate care that improves outcomes while helping to manage escalating costs. These new products focus on prevention and wellness and raised the level of excitement among the conference attendees and the public at large.

Many products were featured at the show, including robotic aids, tele-health systems, remote monitoring devices for the home, electronic medical records, and therapeutic and diagnostic medical devices. The opportunities are endless when it comes to these technologies which can eliminate distance and borders and be preventive in their approaches. Apps, including games, can reinforce healthy behaviors and help people monitor vital information to take more control of their own health. There were over 20,000 new products launched at this year’s convention, so it can be a bit overwhelming. However, some products could make an even bigger splash this year.

One such buzzed-about product is the Doctor in Your Car, which is to be developed by Ford and Microsoft this spring as a method of monitoring the health and wellness of drivers. Inventors say the idea for this technology stemmed from a Pew Research study that found 93% of people say they search online health information because of its convenience. The study also found that 83% seek online health information because they get more information from the Internet than their own doctor. The goal for the developers is to determine how to noninvasively extend health management into the personal vehicle using wearable devices that will monitor health data such as blood pressure, heart rates, glucose levels, and behavioral data.

There’s no question that we, as health consumers, will be exposed to these new technologies and that they will change our lives. There are still hurdles to overcome, but we are at an exciting junction. We are delicately poised on the edge of the revolution and are indeed living in interesting times.

The following link is to a video available on the challenges of mHealth, made at the Digital Health Summit, and provides further insight into these technologies and their challenges:

From the daily lives of consumers to the daily practices of healthcare providers, to medical school classrooms and health sciences libraries, technology has made and will continue to make consumer healthcare more mobile, more visible, more accessible, and more personal.




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