Archive for February, 2013



Quantified Self: We Get the Data, But Where’s the Information?

February 19th, 2013
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Now that a few of the year’s first conferences with a “future of health” or “digital health” focus (e.g., the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference) have passed, I thought it would be a good time to consider whether consumer-oriented digital health products truly affect outcomes, as often promised.
 
CES featured an abundance of consumer-oriented devices to measure fitness and track physical activity. There are a growing number of companies – like Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike and Withings – that offer tracking devices, or are introducing new versions. They’re all fairly imprecise by some standards, and measure a variety of parameters, such as number of steps per day, body temperature, heart rate or galvanic skin response, that are then analyzed to measure fitness in a non-specific way.
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Why the U.S. Economy Needs the Power of Digital Health

February 11th, 2013
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As the new year slips into higher gear, and our national focus shifts from politics to policymaking, we need to take a fresh look at how innovation can give the economy a boost.
 
While President Obama’s second inauguration speech mentions the need for new technology (harnessing new ideas and technologies to remake, revamp, reform and empower various sectors of society), I find myself asking: what kind of innovation? How could digital health play a role?
 
Harvard professor and innovation pioneer Clayton Christensen calls for a better mix of the three main types of innovations: empowering, sustaining and efficiency. He observes that empowering innovations, which create jobs by transforming complex and expensive products into simpler, cheaper products, are in unusually short supply. Meanwhile, sustaining innovations, which replace old products with new models (that nonetheless operate the same way), and efficiency innovations, which reduce costs of existing products, are abundant, but don’t help jump-start an economy as much. Today, he says, efficiency innovations are just being reinvested back into more efficiency innovations.
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