Filter - June 2014
Wearables in Brazil
Last month, Adidas announced that 19 soccer teams, many of whom would be going to the World Cup, had begun wearing health monitoring sensors for training. Despite the excitement, wearable technology that transmits real-time biometric analytics is not new—companies like UnderArmour and Nike produce consumer-grade heart rate monitors specifically designed for athletes. What separates this new wave of wearable monitoring technology, and why adoption and use has accelerated to visibility on the largest international stage, is the scope of available data and the means by which these data are collected, transmitted, and viewed.
Small sensors on jerseys and lightweight pods in shorts will transmit to the coach information about each team member's speed, acceleration, position, heart rate, and relative "intensity." The entire package will be nearly invisible. These data are invaluable for monitoring player safety, preventing injuries, and determining if strategic changes are impacting player effectiveness.
Right now, the largest obstacle to wearable adoption for general consumers is the lack of products that seamlessly integrate into our lives. Most wearable technology is bulky and lacks classic form, a problem Adidas has partially solved with their in-jersey monitor and companies like Motorola are trying to solve with their very watch-like Moto360.
For the consumer healthcare space, the implications of an "invisible" monitor are enormous and cannot be understated. For the more than 26 million Americans living with heart disease, a product like the Adidas sensor could not only keep track of heart rate and call an ambulance in the event of a heart attack, but preventatively contact a physician in the event of irregularities. If such products could reduce the average length of stay of heart disease inpatients by even a fraction, hospital costs would decline and patient quality of life would increase significantly. If these products reach as many people as the World Cup, it is surely another reason to cheer.
Information: Meeting the Challenge of Health Literacy
In 2003, the first-ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)* was conducted and found that only 12% of US adults had proficient health literacy.1 In other words, nearly 9 of 10 adults may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease.2
Source: US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, 2003 NAAL.
Fourteen percent of adult Americans (30 million people) have Below Basic health literacy. They are more likely to report their health as poor (42%) than adults with Proficient health literacy.2,3
Low health literacy has also been linked to poor health outcomes, such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. Both of these outcomes are associated with higher healthcare costs.2,3
How can we improve the usability of health information for people with less-than-Proficient health literacy? Among several strategies recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services, one simple but often neglected idea stands out: supplement instructions with visuals.
For many people, visuals accommodate a preferred learning style, especially for technical information. Visual illustrations can help make complicated or abstract medical concepts clear and understandable because they put information in context.2
GTO LifeLine is helping do exactly that for patients, nurses, and doctors in a large hospital network in the South. On my visit there in May, a nurse navigator hugged me. Why? She was so excited to have a visual way to demonstrate to patients how uncontrolled blood glucose damages their blood vessels and extremities. With GTO LifeLine, she can provide clear and compelling bedside education that is much more likely to lead to positive behavior change. Before this tool was piloted, she resorted to drawing her own diagrams on paper—a less-than-satisfactory way to reach and teach her patients.
This visual experience is just the first phase of the behavior-change platform that is GTO LifeLine. Doctors will soon be able to send personalized messages that connect to a patient's emotional state captured during a health crisis. This kind of personalized follow-up is key to improving health education for patients because it prolongs compliance and helps maintain positive changes in health behaviors.
-Elizabeth Izard Apelles, CEO
Where We're Going
Digital Pharma West
San Francisco, CA
July 29-31, 2014
Where We've Been
May 30-June 3, 2014
OMTEC (Orthopedic Manufacturing & Technology Exposition and Conference)
June 11-12, 2014
DIA 2014 50th Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
June 15-19, 2014