Generation Digital Health—Observations from the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show

January 21st, 2013
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I attended the Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2013) in Las Vegas earlier this month. While this was my second year at the Digital Health Summit portion, it was the first year that Qualcomm delivered the keynote address for the entire show. While there, I found myself building upon the “Born Mobile” theme of Qualcomm’s keynote show—which unfortunately came across as parody, as seen in this piece in The Verge—in pointing out that we are experiencing a digital revolution, of which mobile wireless devices and networks are just two subcomponents.
Digital Health is the convergence of the digital revolution with health. “Health” is writ large in this context, and includes sports, fitness, and wellness, plus medicine and healthcare. At CES, we could see the convergence of the following key digital elements:


    • Wireless Sensors and Devices
    • Genomics
    • Social Networking
    • Mobile Connectivity and Bandwidth
    • Imaging
    • Health Information Systems
    • The Internet
    • Computing Power and the Data Universe (Big & Cheap Data)

I was gladdened to see all of the activity-tracking devices at the show. There were also “soft silos,” where players like Withings and Fitbit had what I’d call consumer digital health solution-sets on display: wrist-worn activity trackers, weight scales, and health dashboards. I thought this Cambrian-esque explosion was great, since it drives a virtuous circle/positive feedback loop in the ecosystem; increasing consumer awareness and demand accelerates product innovation and improvements which, in turn, further drives consumer demand for improved solutions.
Digital Health was prominent at CES (here’s iHealthBeat’s take on “What the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Means for Health Care IT”) and even people I talked to who were outside of the health sector really seemed to get it. I also loved that Arianna Huffington, who spoke in a super session, wrote a piece explicitly talking about the “Digital Health Revolution.”
Do you think the digital health revolution is experiencing a “Cambrian” explosion of innovation? Could a post-Cambrian “die-off” be somewhere on the horizon? What other new inventions could fill this space? What does this all mean for the healthcare consumer? What about for life science or digital technology companies? We welcome your thoughts.

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About the Author:

Popper and Company takes a comprehensive approach to helping our clients leverage information to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. We’re a team of diverse professionals – physician entrepreneurs across multiple disciplines, engineers, scientists, and clinicians – each with a unique perspective and problem-solving capabilities.

One Response to “Generation Digital Health—Observations from the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show”

  1. It is just the onset, Paul. Technological innovation in the healthcare industries is going to be on the ascend as increasingly we become health-conscious. The technology is going to replace traditional health diagnosis and because they are often personal devices, health issues will tend to be redressed fairly early.