Digital healthcare, wearable devices take center stage at CES

Roughly 500 people chose to attend a digital healthcare panel discussion moderated by Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington that featured a slew of health technology heavyweights at the start of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this week, the Las Vegas Sun reports

Huffington kicked things off by calling the healthcare system "dysfunctional and expensive." She added that healthcare IT can reduce stress on people's lives, noting that new devices allow patients to make good decisions about their health that can help lead to the prevention of chronic disease.

Take, for instance, wearable electronics, which made a splash at the event, including Proteus Digital Health's digital feedback system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the tiny digestible microchips that can be added to pills last August, allowing providers to monitor whether patients take their medicine and how it affects them. The Redwood City, Calif.-based Proteus plans to release the product in the U.S. later this year.


"This may sound futuristic," said Proteus co-founder and CEO Andrew Thompson, who was on the panel. "It's not."

Misfit Wearables of San Francisco, meanwhile, is making medical sensors into a fashion statement with sensors that look like cuff links and thin wireless activity trackers, namely one called Shine. The tiny tracker's sensor algorithms track movement during walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming and more, moving the data to a smartphone by just placing it on the phone screen. Misfit founder Sonny Vu, who also was part of the panel, said having something on one's body inspires the person to be more active in any situation or event.

Deepak Chopra, who also spoke on the panel, touted the importance of sleep, stress management, diet and exercise, and announced his own product called Dreamweaver, a device that feeds signals to one's brain to improve sleep.

On Tuesday, FierceHealthIT Advisory Board member Joseph Kvedar, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health, officially launched Wellocracy at CES, a new company that will push patients to engage in their own health.

"The goal of Wellocracy is at once simple and daunting--to get America moving, and to motivate our citizens to move to a healthier state," Kvedar said in a blog post in November, when Wellocracy's launch first was announced. "It turns out that the formula is straightforward: a) track your activity, b) find your individual set of motivational tools and c) find ways to increase your activity without disrupting your life."

The wearable device market is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2014, with a rapid growth in sensors, component and system integration, according to a report published last fall by Juniper Research.

To learn more:
- read the Las Vegas Sun article