DIY Health Care

If you’re a technology geek in any way, then you wait every year with bated breath to see what gets rolled out at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Much to my liking, there was plenty of health tech to see this year.

If I had to touch on an overall theme that crossed over all the gadgets at the show, it would be self-tracking health.

We’re starting to see a ground swell of health-related technology that leverages the number one existing tech device we’re dependent on today… our smartphone.

The start-up Cellscope developed a small ear probe that clips on to your iPhone camera allowing you to stream video of an ear canal to a doctor for analysis. The company has doctors on call that can analyze the video stream and provide a diagnosis in under two hours, so families can receive care more efficiently rather than making repeated visits to the doctor’s office with kids suffering from chronic ear infections.

If you’re looking for a discount on your health insurance, there’s Oscar and their wearable device, MisFit Flash. This start-up company pays consumers bonuses for meeting their fitness goals and transmits data to their insurers via their smartphone.

Access to health information can be a double-edged sword.

We all remember the train wreck that WebMD (Nasdaq:WBMD) turnrned into after the dotcom bubble popped in the early 2000’s. At first, everyone thought they could just go online and read up on their health issues and perform a 90% proven diagnosis.

In my opinion, this led to an entire generation of hypochondriacs.

As it turnrns out, you still need a trained health care professional in the loop for analysis and diagnosis. And this is where health care technology companies are focusing their attention.

Across the board, companies are focusing on how to leverage existing technology to collect and share health data with trained professionals at the speed of a supercomputer. Bolstering this is the massive amount of data that’s stored to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of tough mutating diseases, such as cancer.

I recently wrote about NantWorks, its founder Patrick Soon-Shiong and his recent partnership with Blackberry. This week at CES, they unveiled the HBox, a health hub that securely gathers, tracks and communicates with your health care provider. It enables your physician to track a wealth of information without the trouble of an office visit.

Soon-Shiong went so far as to compare the technology to a familiar app we all use: “Imagine us having the ability like Google Maps to browse every single patient’s genome, find the abnormal letter in real-time and tell the doctor what treatment to give.”

HBox will soon be rolled out to approximately 100,000 patients with pre-hypertension or hypertension to monitor their weight, blood pressure, heart-rate and medication in real-time. This will allow the patient’s physicians to track, diagnose and treat them much faster than conventional methods.

I saw an aspirin commercial recently featuring EMTs walking up to a man sitting at a sports game and letting him know they were there for his heart attack. The hook is “heart attacks don’t give notice.”

But given the current trajectory of health tracking technology… we may not be too far off.

I currently track trends surrounding healthcare and biotech utilizing my Social Media Collective Intelligence system and provide alerts in my Biotech Intel Trader service.

As always, I will continue to monitor the market’s social media collective intelligence and keep you updated on the latest trends.

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