Health 2.0 London Nov. 10-12th take aways
It has been a few weeks since I was in London at the Health 2.0 event, meant to write this earlier, but life has been busy. On the positive side, this has given me a chance to reflect a bit about the event, and this sort of event in general.
Today to review a bit I went onto the Health 2.0 website, where almost all the talks can be seen. I commend them for making so much of the content publicly available. On the other hand much of the content is pitches, so it often veers into advertising. Informative advertising, but advertising none the less.
Since this is a diabetes blog I will start with the diabetes related products, and come back to this issue later.
Uwe Diegel from iHealth Labs showed their blood glucose meters, including one that connects via BlueTooth. (I was sort of hoping he would give me one to test, but perhaps my hints weren’t clear enough.) Since so many diabetics won’t record data manually, this seems to clearly be the future. I continue to be amazed how long it is taking for other companies to incorporate wireless connectivity into meters.
A quick check showed the strip price to be far below most major competitors. He also has a meter aimed at T2 people. It connects to a smartphone through the audio jack.
I like his direction and design, have to believe it makes a difference that he is making products that he himself uses, as Uwe is also a T1 PWD. Looking forward to more. Suggested he work on a connected insulin pen, but he didn’t seem to interested.
Mendor was showing a new meter equipped with a SIM card, which sends readings to stakeholders. The idea is that the clinic will then be monitoring the data stream for certain events. This is another one of those solutions, which might be good for some, but I find somewhat distasteful. They are from Finland, which is perhaps a more trusting society than the US or Germany. This freaks me out a bit, a move to surveillance society. Maybe for my own good, but this is a slippery slope. Part of me still feels that my daily individual readings are a private matter. Sometimes I just need a break for a few hours. I certainly don’t want an SMS asking what is going on. Just feels too paternal for how I choose to lead my life. And stressful. Will be curious how many people will refuse to use such a system after a while. and which personality types.
The main point of diabetes care is not to have normal blood sugars, it is to have the freedom to have a good life. I am sure some will embrace top down technologies like this, but I for one will pass.
I met Jens of Experio.com, he is working on an app to try and simplify the experience of getting your local medical care needs met. Sounded like a solid concept, will keep an eye on his work. He is also a T1, so more patient developed systems on the way.
And of course mySugr was present, showing some of their new offerings, including educational videos for T2 diabetics. They had previously positioned themselves in the T1 market, but seem to be expanding. I briefly checked the videos out. I really wonder about their approach of using humor and the cute monster. Some people seem to like it, others don’t identify at all. I think cute, but after a day or two….
They have become one of the top players in the emerging field of diabetes management apps. They are funded and moving forward. Hear rumors of moving into decision support. Will the cuteness enable them to take on a majority of the market? remains to be seen.
I am suspecting that the diabetes app that really gets the market will be the apps that doesn’t look like or feel like a logbook. My eyes start to glaze over whenever I see all those menus, and data collection system.
On Wednesday I attended a Dustin’s MadPow workshop on engagement with gamification. This was both informative and thought provoking. The instructor moved away from the Fogg trigger model, which was refreshing, stressing the importance of intrinsic motivators, and how gamification can access fun learning environments. He argued against external rewards, as lacking resilience. The workshop had a decent amount of theory and exercises to apply to real world examples. Our group was working on how to get people with a specific heart problem to track their weight for signs of excess water gain. This seemed like a natural place for a spiffy intelligent connected device, though I got convinced pretty quickly that this would be hard to implement, as it would end up being a regulated device. Not sure that gamification was the best technique for this use case, but was an interesting problem.
Among the presentations that stayed with me was the NHS talk on how to get into their system. Good insider tips, and quite useful. If you are considering such a move, go on the Health 2.0 website, and watch the talk.
I really liked that Health 2.0 made an effort to start having more patients on the panels. One sees clearly the differences in goals between those with chronic conditions and those trying to create revenue models. Of course to a certain extent everyone is a patient some of the time, but some of us more than others.
All in all a very intense few days, tons of networking, met some great people, and was a terrific opportunity to learn what is going on in the space. My main criticism is the use of advertising pretending to be content. There were at least some pitches making dubious claims, without very much critical challenge. I would have liked more of a format where people presented for five minutes, then deeper levels of debate. I think if presenters had to defend their claims more, they would be a bit more careful. Plus this is a health event, more presentations of decent mHealth studies would be a welcome addition.
The balance between profit and actual value continues to be one of the major challenges of mHealth. Agile and lean have brought great product into the world, we have to see how this fits into mHealth. Even an unregulated health app, can have unwanted side effects, and this will have to be dealt with at some point.
watch the presentations: