Wireless health, San Diego steal the show at CES


You wouldn't know it from all the meeting requests I got from vendors, but I was not able to attend last week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, featuring a first-time event called the Digital Health Summit. Good thing others provided blanket coverage from that madhouse, which drew somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 people to Sin City.

From what I could gather from news reports, CES validated my claim from last week that the San Diego area has become a hub of activity for mobile healthcare. Paul Jacobs, CEO of San Diego-based Qualcomm, gave a keynote, in which he highlighted a number of mobile and wireless healthcare technologies. Demonstrating those devices was none other than Dr. Eric Topol, chief medical officer of the West Wireless Healthcare Institute, La Jolla, Calif.

Topol, who wore a wireless EKG sensor while on stage, also showed how to track patient vitals on a smartphone and made the U.S. introduction of a Swedish service called Mobile Baby. Mobile Baby combines a portable ultrasound device with tracking technology so pregnant women can see and share fetal images. (Seriously, how many moms-to-be haven't posted ultrasound images on Facebook recently if they could get a digital copy?)

Also at CES, federal CTO Aneesh Chopra spoke about health IT standards as an example of how the Obama administration is trying to foster innovation in government. But that speech, apparently, will be best remembered for Consumer Electronics Association boss Gary Shapiro rapping government regulators for standing in the way of innovation.

In the spirit of trying to stay neutral here, I'll mention the latest from Switzerland: the Victorinox Presentation Master, a Swiss Army knife with an encrypted USB drive that is accessed only by fingerprint recognition, plus a Bluetooth computer remote control a laser pointer. If all else fails, you still have the screwdriver, nail file, scissors, key ring and the other accoutrements of a Swiss Army knife. - Neil

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