Digital Health on Stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

UHG CES1UHGCES4This week I’ve been in Las Vegas. I traveled here to meet with Microsoft customers and partners at a CES side event called LEAP at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  I also did a presentation on health industry tech trends for the UnitedHealth Group in their booth at CES. UnitedHealth Group?  You may be asking yourself why in the world a health insurance company had a booth at the world’s largest consumer electronics show? And let me tell you, it wasn’t just a booth. The UnitedHealth Group’s “booth” at CES was more like a city park. Visitors could stroll through exhibits on a wide variety of digital health solutions offered by UnitedHealth and its subsidiaries.  Among those was information about NowClinic, United’s on-line virtual clinic service; Optum Health’s OptumizeMe for social and family networking activities related to healthy living; and Health4Me, a mobile application to help find network providers and manage health expenses.  They also had a heavy emphasis on health gaming featuring Kinect for Xbox 360.  In two dedicated areas of the booth, visitors could experience Microsoft’s now famous technology that puts you in the action.  As I stated in my presentation, any physician is going to applaud video gaming technology that gets families off the couch, moving and playing together.  Following my presentation, I did a short video interview that was posted on UnitedHealth Group’s CES web site.  You can see that here. 

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Of course, UnitedHealth Group was just one of dozens of companies exhibiting consumer health solutions and products in a special section of the North Hall at CES.  Many of these were mobile gadgets to help with a fitness regimen or better manage a diet.  There were lots of other cool applications and technologies for people with chronic conditions, and products to keep people well.  While the digital health exhibit was small in scale compared to all of CES, it had a prominent presence among the electric cars, 92-inch 3D televisions, and robotic household assistants.

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You may have heard that Microsoft will no longer exhibit at CES.  That gave me yet another reason to attend CES this year and spend some time at Microsoft’s gargantuan exhibit space in the Center Hall.  Appropriately located right next to Intel, Microsoft delighted visitors with a very colorful array of the latest computers, smartphones, games, services and applications.  I’ve got to admit, it blew me away as did my entire experience at CES.

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Back at the Mandalay Bay I spent most of my time meeting with device manufacturers and discussing the ins and outs of designing products and services for the health industry.  This included some prescriptive advice on what clinicians need from the devices and applications they use.  Here’s a summary of some of my talking points.

What clinicians need from the devices they use – Data input options;  Mobility; Connectivity to applications and other devices (practice and hospital); Devices built for medical environments (rugged, cleanable, long battery life, ergonomic); Security and privacy of PHI; Lower total cost of ownership

What clinicians need from the applications they use - Information worker applications that facilitate rather than impede clinical workflow; Applications that seamlessly scale up and down according to the device being used; Applications that are intuitive and have a familiar user interface; Lower total cost of ownership

What the healthcare organization needs from the platform, apps and devices used in their enterprise - A connected health strategy and platform; The ability to recognize and manage “consumer devices” on the network; The ability to protect data assets from malware, viruses, lost or stolen devices; Lower total cost of ownership and management (hardware and software); The option to move commodity workloads to the cloud

Thanks to my HealthBlog readers for sharing so many thoughts on the above.  It was terrific to have an opportunity to personally provide this guidance to device manufactures large and small from around the world.

Bill Crounse, MD             Senior Director, Worldwide Health               Microsoft

Comments (2)

  1. cron22 says:

    Wow.  Darn.  I wish I had been there to see that.  

  2. Randy says:


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