Baby boomers & health technology adoption.

Toward an Internet of Caring Things

We have seen the scary future – and it is behind the firewall.  Let’s say it: The Internet of Things almost seemed useful – smart objects connected together was once a great marketing tag line. Now it is becoming an Orwellian nightmare, not just because Google can drive the car while you text. Now we know your car has millions of lines of code in it and is easily hacked by two guys on a couch with a laptop. Volkswagen’s internal hacking, uh, deception to meet emissions standards has given visibility to the Internet of Cheating Things, not to mention the Internet of Hacked Things (from drones!!), and Scammed Things (from the refrigerator!!). And just think how obsolete CES "crap gadgets" will seem after the 2016 CES – the real tech news will be these long-distance and unwelcome invaders from afar, redirecting gadgets on the show floor.

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Health and tech innovations do little for baby boomers

These are disturbing times for the boomer consumer and health care.  Baby boomers are now aged 51-70 and are more likely than their parents to have chronic diseases, and 39% of baby boomers are obese. They are presented with rising health care costs, although real wages are barely growing. So what is the health tech sector inventing to help boomers span this disconnect between health, healthcare costs, and incomes? Not much.  Investors are becoming disillusioned with the array of tools that have emerged and have only a tangential effect. Consider health apps they won’t download, wearables that may not be accurate or their data that may not be secured. And even workplace health incentives are not yet necessarily effective.  The result?

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Five 2015 Research Reports: Health, Tech and Boomer Life

Research reports from 2015 about Baby Boomers  Baby boomers continued to intrigue and inspire research throughout 2015. What we know: they're working longer, choosing lifestyles and housing that does not necessarily mirror their own parents. They are confronting more chronic disease despite lengthening life expectancy, and expect to find more health and caregiving services online and obtain care outside traditional settings. They want to use new technology, but can still be frustrated by poor product design and packaging. And their economic status is less certain. Here are five research reports published during 2015 that reflect some of the conundrums facing the boomer population:

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Baby boomers -- top 2015 wearable and mobile health blog posts

Boomers and adoption of mobile health -- not so fast. Let's start at the conclusion -- the hype hasn't produced health for boomers.  The new California Health Care Foundation sponsored boomer health tech report is out.  First the bad news. Baby boomers (aged 50-69 in 2015) aren't getting the health innovation investment money's worth, though the spigot is wide open for digital health funding.  Which is odd because they represent the single largest cohort that generates health cost, possibly as a result of their more sedentary lifestyle, compared to the previous generations.  Health care costs are often described in the press as going down, but really only the rate of increase is slowing – according to PwC, the growth rate still outpaces inflation.

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Digital Health -- Toward five characteristics of market maturity

Five characteristics of Digital Health market maturity. What would boomers most want to have in our mature Digital Health world? Here’s a starting list – comments welcome. 1) Their privacy is well protected by their insurers, doctors, software, social network and device makers; 2) Their health information is well-integrated into the multi-company health provider world – no need to carry around those CDs of EHRs); 3) Trends in their health patterns are noticed by care providers who use predictive analytics to note possible problems); 4) Boomers do less driving to specialists, more remote consultations, which are appropriately reimbursed through Medicare; 5) Fitness gadgets are replaced by well-being devices and systems.

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Curating quality and value of health apps – please proceed

We (will) want to use apps and wearables to care for ourselves.  The tech industry sees the potential – even as it is unsure how to move the market along. A non-profit startup just spun out of MIT plans to curate health apps for consumers -- versus used by health professionals -- beginning this month.  Hopefully this one, unlike the pay-to-play certification model suspended by the departed Happtique, will focus more on security  than its predecessor. The value of these apps has been publicly questioned -- but the real issue may be privacy protection, given the rights and permissions consumers hand over to app purveyors. Meanwhile, market projections still assert $26 billion by 2017.

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Viewing the potential of Digital Health through the lens of trust

On the one hand, access to Digital Health lags behind interest.. Consumers want more access to ‘digital health’ than they are offered. So says a Nielsen study that reminds me of so many studies from research firms: “Have you deployed Technology XYZ?” Answer: No. Will you deploy it in 2 years? Answer: yes.  In this case, 36% of adults were interested in a 24-7 telephone line for medical advice, but only 14 percent had access to one; 19% were interested in video visits, but only 2 percent had access to them them. And so on. Note that 36% was the highest positive interest percentage. So the headline is, uh, misleading: more than two-thirds of responders were not interested in any of the above. The correct headline – ‘at this time, people are NOT interested in Digital Health.’ Why? Because…

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Five Digital Health Technologies from Aging 2.0 Pitch4Pilots

Older adults can be the focus of emerging digital health firms.   Kudos to Aging 2.0 and its effort to find an attract startups that can help older adults.  So much of the Digital Health landscape acts, just like Apple, agnostic about age, avoiding the chance to shape a market message for products that clearly could benefit (and in Apple's case, do benefit) older adults. Even more striking is the percentage of health care costs that are actually spent on older adults.  For other age-indifferent health-related see Connected Health Symposium and mHealth Summit for too many examples. But Aging 2.0 has a different agenda than these -- welcoming the messaging about age and inviting companies that these other events might (or might not) welcome in LivePitch events. Here are a few of the companies in the Digital Health space pitching for pilots at Aging 2.0: 

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Five new technologies from the 2015 Connected Health Symposium

The Internet of "Healthy" Things.  The Internet of Things (IoT) has provided material for many markets, so the acronym begs for reuse and recycle. Consider the Internet of Caring Things, (gadgets that note worrisome changes in wellbeing). Then there’s the Internet of Everyday Things (think vacuuming and thermostats), the Internet of Transportation Things (that's cars and truck stuff), the Internet of Medical Things (old term: Health IT), etc. The 2015 Connected Health Symposium was sponsored by Boston’s sprawling care delivery system, Partners Healthcare. So last week's IoT boomlet was sub-titled: The Internet of Healthy Things, and included improving patient digital experience through 'better understanding of their emotions' through the use of facial, voice, and other indicators.

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Rock Health's Digital Health status: big investment, little used

Rock Health sums up hype status. The tech is for digital, wearable, and mobile health is very well-funded -- $4 billion in 2014, with some achieved goals of successful exits. And there’s that $2 billion in the first half of 2015. So all is good, right?  The tech industry (investors, inventors and health pontificators) is in love with this laundry list of digital health stuff, which includes wearable and mobile health tech. The term appears so broadly applied as to be meaningless concept --  that runs from the data center to downloadable free apps. Ah but, there are those pesky consumers – who, according to Rock Health’s survey of 4400 don’t really seem to want to try most of this stuff

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