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Consumer health products can be a boon to providers, patients
As the consumerization of healthcare continues, new products displayed at CES 2019 -- like the first wearable blood pressure cuff -- can be beneficial to providers and patients.
At CES, companies that supply the world's population with consumer electronics and technologies come together to preview their latest innovations and products to lucky attendees. This event gives news media and tech enthusiasts firsthand experience with new gadgets. CES 2019 has shown that there continues to be an increase in the development of consumer health products. That should get the attention of healthcare professionals as some of these gadgets may be the next device a patient brings to an appointment.
This year's CES attracted over 4,500 consumer technology companies from all over the world, and each of those companies brought their latest products to share with the audience. Among this year's popular consumer health products were robots, wearables, virtual assistants and health monitors. Several of these health-related products are likely to gain traction in the marketplace due to the functionality they offer and their potential benefit for healthcare providers and patients.
A wearable blood pressure monitor
One of the new consumer health products unveiled at CES is Omron's blood pressure monitor. With a growing number of patients with heart disease, the first wearable blood pressure monitor can provide accurate measurements similar to what patients would receive from other devices, but it is much smaller and hidden in a watch wristband. The company also offers an app that can download the data from the watch and then track it and even allow healthcare providers to review it.
A health assistant robot for home use
Another common trend at CES 2019 was the presence of robots at different booths and one of the main stages. One particular robot from Samsung is likely to interest healthcare providers. The Bot Care demonstration highlighted how the robot is able to perform basic tasks like measuring heart rate, following instructions and verbally interacting with the patient, detecting falls and monitoring medication. This bot is an ideal candidate to provide basic home health services to the aging population who want to remain in their own homes.
A portable ultrasound for quick scans
There is certainly a trend where medical device manufacturers are making their vital measuring equipment smaller and more mobile-friendly, and exhibitor Butterfly iQ highlighted just that. The company showcased one of their new portable mini ultrasound machines small enough to fit into a small purse or bag. The device connects to a smartphone and allows patients to perform their own scans and share the results with their healthcare provider through the Butterfly iQ web portal.
The device's small size, combined with cloud service to share scan results with a physician in real time, is a significant step toward supporting more telehealth services where physicians can have access to relevant clinical-grade imaging without requiring patients to visit an imaging center for routine checks. Hospitals and IT will likely come to a point where some patients may be sent home with these devices to support remote monitoring.
Interactive virtual assistants for medication help
Virtual assistants were also a big hit at CES this year. Black & Decker showcased a new medication dispensing machine called Pria that assists patients with their medication reminders and accurate dispensing. The device is smaller than a home coffeemaker and can be monitored by healthcare professionals remotely to track the patient's medication schedule and adherence.
CES will continue to be a place where IT executives and healthcare professionals get their first peek at what technology products consumers may be exposed to especially when it can relate to their healthcare. While it is too early to predict which consumer health products will be widely adopted by patients, hospitals can at least preview the latest gadgets and identify based on what products those new products can help solve for them.