Key Trends in Connected Health: Emerging Technologies Will Make Our Lives Better

By Sam Margolis, Cantina & Mike Po, Bluefin Technology Partners - Members of Uplift Cooperative (https://www.upliftcoop.com/) The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge recently hosted an event for professionals in the Connected Health space at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. With a focus on emerging technologies that will improve patient care, over a hundred industry leaders and Doctors heard from seven companies that are on the front wave of transformation in health care. Here are some key takeaways central themes we see emerging in this space:

  • Tighten your seatbelts: The advances in connected product technologies for healthcare in the past few years have outpaced the development over the last 20.

Dr. Joseph Kvedar, Vice President of Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, presented the evolution of connected products for health and wellness. Dr. Kvedar has been involved in the industry for the past 20 years and now focuses the majority of the time working with Partners Healthcare to develop solutions for connected health.  

Dr. Kvedar sees the advancements in this area limited not by technology (as it was in the past) but by patient and doctor barriers. He noted that, “The solutions for connected health must be designed for usability by both the patient and the doctor” and went on to cite the three most important areas for consideration when designing connected products:

  1. Create frictionless User Interfaces

  2. Leverage proven engagement tools

  3. Design software and connected products that show empathy for their users

  • Less is more: Home health care technology will be most effective if it uses proven engagement tools.

Leveraging existing engagement tools such as the Amazon Alexa and other voice enabled home devices can be both a platform and springboard for innovation and improving patient care in the home.   Bill Rogers, CEO of Orbita (https://www.orbitahealth.com/) demonstrated his company's voice interaction system built on top of Amazon Echo.  Orbita Voice engages patients with user experiences that adapt to their needs, including intuitive, intelligent voice assistants based on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to inform, educate, and encourage.   

  • Inner and outer beauty are both important: Connected health care technology contains groundbreaking features - but nobody will use them without intuitive and engaging User Experiences.

Seven very promising technologies were showcased at the forum.   All have the potential to help make people’s lives significantly more healthy and fulfilling.  However, they were all in need of significant thought about how users will (or will not) ultimately adapt to and adopt the technologies.

In our experience as human interface experts and digital designers we have focused our companies on perfecting the human experience associated with mobile, web and custom applications.  This is a critically important element to accelerate and ensure the adoption of any new technology, especially as it relates to health care.

Senscio Technologies provides an AI platform to better manage and understand gaps in healthcare to improve health outcomes.

4)  Gateways could become the future for enabling the adoption of connected health products

The innovation happening with connected products is astounding, but in many cases highly specialized when it comes to patient care and well being.  This creates scenarios where patients may have to use many different products, applications, wearables in the same day to get a complete picture of their health and well being.  Simplifying the experience will help facilitate adoption.  To that end, the real winners in this space will figure out how to provide central gateways where multiple products can be managed and integrated giving the end user single point or application to manage many specialized products.  There remains great opportunity to address this key trend through superior integrations and experiences.