Archive for June, 2013



Can Digital Health Prevent You from a Premature Death?

June 27th, 2013
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“Prevention is better than cure,” said Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch Renaissance humanist and scholar. Now, a modern report on technology highlights just this concept, and in the process emphasizes the value of digital health in aiding prevention.
 
In this year’s Internet Trends report, the authoritative assessment of the Internet’s evolution, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers featured various components of digital health. The report shows a relationship—albeit not necessarily a correlation—between the volume of health data being shared, the number of wearable devices, and health apps and the increasing power placed in the hands of consumers to manage and improve their own health.
 
In one powerful statistic, Meeker’s report showed that 40 percent of premature deaths—the largest proportion of such deaths—are due to behavioral factors such as smoking, obesity and inactivity, and alcohol abuse. This figure indicates that consumers can proactively avoid premature death by becoming better informed about their own health and, if/when motivated, taking action to avoid the risk factors.
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Some Low-Tech Healthcare Issues Need High-Tech Help

June 19th, 2013
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Healthcare improvements often depend on technology a great deal, whether it’s a new drug, diagnostic device, online system or even an app. Sometimes, however, solutions to nagging problems beg for less costly, low-tech solutions. And in a handful of cases, low- and high-tech innovations must work hand-in-hand for a problem to be successfully addressed.
 
Take hand-washing, for example. This simple procedure can help combat the 100,000 deaths and $30 billion in annual costs due to hospital-acquired infections, yet only 30 percent of hospital staff meets the standard for hand-washing recommended by the World Health Organizations and other health groups. Now that hospitals could lose Medicare funding if enough patients contract preventable infections, they’re looking to technological solutions to fix this age-old problem, including high tech devices like video monitoring and motion detectors in intensive care units. Read the rest of this entry »

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Strategic Steps Two and Three on Creating your Big Picture

June 11th, 2013
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Albert Einstein once said, “The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.” While product development processes differ from scientific discovery, they still can be a subject of wonder for many a life science executive. In a previous Popper and Company post, I addressed the first step toward successfully introducing a new product or service, namely knowing where you are in the process. In this post, I’ll cover two more important steps to commercialization: determining the right partner and refining your strategy.
 
Step Two: Pick your partner (and your partnership arrangement) wisely
When looking to commercialize a healthcare innovation, the first item of consideration for most life science companies is usually money. But a number of other important issues need to be addressed before positive cash flow becomes a reality. One matter is looking for organizations or people who can help you. The most common need of a new enterprise or startup organization is a partner with development expertise that you and your firm may lack.
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Digital Health Stands Before the Chasm Between “Cool” and Customer Value

June 5th, 2013
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There’s no doubt that many components of digital health are revolutionary technologies. They are making healthcare more personalized, more easily available and more accessible to a newly empowered patient/consumer. But how well is digital health really catching on?
 
At Popper and Company and elsewhere, the evolution of digital health has been discussed in depth. Smart phones (particularly Apple’s iPhone) have an enormous amount of portable power, a smart interface, and a platform that anybody can use. At the same time, “wearable” devices and sensors ranging from accelerometers to blood pressure monitors are more convenient and less expensive for use by a broad audience. Finally, cloud computing takes advantage of improvements in cellular and broadband infrastructure with increased bandwidth and network speed to provide more horsepower to applications, so that today, any mobile device can tap into this power with ease and become a health monitor. (Of course, those apps in the wellness realm go out of their way to ensure they are not considered medical devices, thus avoiding scrutiny by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, but that is a topic for another day.)
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