Health Populi http://healthpopuli.com Thu, 30 Jul 2015 05:01:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s My Body And I’ll Test If I Want To http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/30/its-my-body-and-ill-test-if-i-want-to/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/30/its-my-body-and-ill-test-if-i-want-to/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 05:01:58 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12941 While health consumers in America have more skin in the game in terms of paying more via high-deductible health plans and out-of-pocket costs, they are largely unempowered when it comes to diagnostic testing in labs. Theranos is working to change that and empower consumers to access convenient lab testing and get results quickly and online. […]

The post It’s My Body And I’ll Test If I Want To appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
theranosWhile health consumers in America have more skin in the game in terms of paying more via high-deductible health plans and out-of-pocket costs, they are largely unempowered when it comes to diagnostic testing in labs. Theranos is working to change that and empower consumers to access convenient lab testing and get results quickly and online.

Describing the lab-disempowerment story in a Wall Street Journal op-ed dated July 28, Elizabeth Holmes writes about How to Usher In a New Era of Preventive Health Care. Holmes is the founder and CEO of Theranos (named by joining the words “therapy” and “diagnosis”), a health technology company focused on consumer-facing lab testing.

Holmes writes, “many of us get lab tests only when we’re showing symptoms, which means we may already be sick. And too many of us find out we’re sick when it’s too late to change the course of these conditions. It’s time to move away from reactive health care.”

From a pure health economics standpoint, Theranos’ tests can be  a low-cost option for a consumer paying out-of-pocket or another payor sponsoring health plan. Theranos’ tests are 50% or more below the Medicare reimbursement rate, for a full range of tests from fertility panels ($35) to simple cholesterol tests ($2.99). The company’s mission is to provide transparency in lab testing, lab proficiency testing scores, and other metrics.

Last week, Theranos hosted Vice President Joe Biden on a tour of the company’s Newark, CA facility as part of a preventive health summit. Biden remarked, “What’s most impressive to me is you’re not only making these lab tests more accessible, you’re charging historically low prices, which is a small fraction of what is charged now, while maintaining the highest standards, and empowering people whether they live in the barrio or a mansion, putting them in a position to help take control of their own health.”

Theranos in WalgreensOn the retail front, Theranos partners with Walgreens, the pharmacy chain, as a channel for lab testing in Theranos Wellness Centers. By partnering with Theranos beginning November 2014, Walgreens was the first to market with a low-cost, direct-to-consumer option for blood testing — long the controlled province of physicians and clinical laboratories.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Theranos has a good example of the “we’re sick and it’s too late to change the course” scenario in the July 15th 2015 FDA approval of a waiver for Theranos to do herpes simplex virus 1 tests in retail health channels. There, consumers can get results in real time, “on the spot,” instead of having to wait for results. When it comes to testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), this is a good thing.

VP Biden’s point that people — patients — can be empowered, from the barrio to the mansion, is key in this DIY, Maker Health era where people must grow the muscles of health consumers. It’s hard to shop for health care — that takes price transparency, quality measures, and access. Theranos, which provides CLIA-certified labs (which is the quality mark for diagnostic lab testing environments), is accessible through a pharmacy chain that is located with five miles of 75% of Americans.

Theranos has broken down one of the strongest patient/provider barriers in the U.S. health care market. Now patients with financial skin in the game can be exercise clinical muscles, as well.

 

 

 

The post It’s My Body And I’ll Test If I Want To appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/30/its-my-body-and-ill-test-if-i-want-to/feed/ 1
Medicare Makes the Case for Outcomes, As Increasing Costs Loom http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/29/medicare-makes-the-case-for-outcomes/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/29/medicare-makes-the-case-for-outcomes/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:11:07 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12931 Health costs in America will grow faster (again), and health outcomes have improved in the past decade. This week, two of the most important health journals feature health economics data and analyses that paint the current landscape of the U.S. health care system – the good, the warts, and the potential. Health Affairs provides the […]

The post Medicare Makes the Case for Outcomes, As Increasing Costs Loom appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
National Health Expenditures By Category, 2015Health costs in America will grow faster (again), and health outcomes have improved in the past decade. This week, two of the most important health journals feature health economics data and analyses that paint the current landscape of the U.S. health care system – the good, the warts, and the potential.

Health Affairs provides the big economic story played out by the forecasts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in National Health Expenditure Projections, 2014-24: Spending Growth Faster Than Recent Trends. The topline of the forecast is that health spending growth in the U.S. will annually average 5.8% between 2014 and 2024. This will grow the proportion of health spending as part of the nation’s gross domestic product to nearly 20% in 2014 — that means $1 in every $5 produced in America.

The pie chart shows the relative slices of health care spending by category, with hospitals consuming the greatest single share of spending just under 32%. Professional services, the bulk of which is physician and clinical services, comprise 26% of health spending. Prescription drugs will run about 10% of total, which has been the share of Rx in health spending for many years. However, with double-digit growth rates expected by CMS, prescription drugs will exceed that historic one-tenth of health spending share well before 2024. In 2014, prescription drug spending is projected to have risen to 12.6% in 2014, the highest growth rate since 2002 (largely owing to specialty drugs coming onto the market, and specifically new tx for Hepatitis C). The proportion of generic drug dispensing as a percent of the total Rx drug market in the U.S. has hit 82%, so there’s not much room for cost-saving-through-generic-prescribing to be wrung out of overall health cost control.

Spending growth in the forecast period to 2024 will be driven largely by growing coverage of health insureds due to the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act, faster growth in medical care utilization as the nation’s economy continues to improve, the aging population, and growing medical prices due to wage increases (expected in this forecast).

JAMA cover on MC at 50JAMA, the second publication discussed in this post, offers many perspectives on the 50th birthday of Medicare and Medicaid in this week’s issue. The table of contents is a Who’s Who of must-read authors who know their stuff, including Dr. Donald Berwick’s perspective on the past 50 years of health care in America, Drew Altman and Bill Frist’s thoughts on health care providers and beneficiaries, and David Cutler’s over-arching take From the Affordable Care Act to Affordable Care, which speaks to the issues raised in the Health Affair’s CMS spending forecast.

JAMA trends in observed all cause mortality rates in MC population 1999-2013But Dr. Harlan Krumholz and colleagues’ look into Mortality, Hospitalizations, and Expenditures for the Medicare Population Aged 65 Years or Older, 1999-2013, brings the good news out about what health spending for Medicare enrollees has accomplished in 14 years. That is, simply: better health outcomes.

The line graph with declining lines illustrates the striking improvements in Medicare members’ health, including those enrolled in fee-for-service plans (FFS) and those in Medicare Advantage plans. Across all beneficiaries, all-cause mortality declined from 5.3% in 1999 to 4.45% in 2013. While this may seem a small percentage at a glance, the underlying numbers tell the positive story: a decline in hospitalizations per 100,000 person-years of 8,344; falling inpatient spending by $489 per Medicare FFS member; and, the percent of beneficiaries with 1 or more hospitalizations falling from 70.5 to 56.8 per 100 deaths.

As these inpatient admissions fell, folks were increasingly discharged to rehabilitation and nursing facilities, or went home supported by home care services. If these discharges left people in-hospital with greater degrees of clinical severity, then the researchers under-estimated the positive improvements beyond those calculated in the study.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: These two publications this summer week are must-reading for people involved in health care, as signs of what has been positive, and an alert to expected cost-increases that will challenge us to continue to move care out of expensive inpatient settings to peoples’ homes and workplaces. The growth of digital and telehealth platforms will enable this transition to occur.

I’m hopeful that we’ll see continued good-news results the likes of the JAMA stories in 2025, where increasingly, home will be the American’s true medical home.

The post Medicare Makes the Case for Outcomes, As Increasing Costs Loom appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/29/medicare-makes-the-case-for-outcomes/feed/ 0
Beauty, Health and Power http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/27/beauty-health-and-power/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/27/beauty-health-and-power/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:17:30 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12779 CVS is expanding the beauty aisles in stores, along with adding fresh and refrigerated foods and healthy snacks to its offerings. This is part of the company’s re-positioning in its post-tobacco mission, having re-branded from CVS/pharmacy to CVS Health last year. (You can read more about this strategic transformation here in Health Populi and here in […]

The post Beauty, Health and Power appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
Health is everything CVSCVS is expanding the beauty aisles in stores, along with adding fresh and refrigerated foods and healthy snacks to its offerings. This is part of the company’s re-positioning in its post-tobacco mission, having re-branded from CVS/pharmacy to CVS Health last year. (You can read more about this strategic transformation here in Health Populi and here in my Huffington Post column).

When CVS made this announcement, a portfolio manager for Gabelli Funds noted that health and beauty products have very high profit margins. These margins will be useful as CVS replaces the tobacco sales lost last year when the company went tobacco-free.

CVS’s sales of health and beauty products have been fast-growing over the past 3 years, according to Helen Foulkes, CVS EVP. She is quoted in an AP story that, “Women talk a lot about feeling good and looking good.”

CVS Health logoAs part of the growing focus on beauty, CVS will launch three new lines: Jouviance, a Canadian dermatologist-test skin care brand; Wilma Shumann, a “European-inspired” treatment-based brand; and, Promise Organic. The Jouviance line will range from $22 to $69 and target the anti-aging market. In total, CVS plans to bring 1,200 new products into the beauty department. They also plan to have in-store beauty consultants; I imagine these will be akin to the advisors found in Sephora and Ulta to provide counsel (and up-sales).

Beauty care is now a key to retail growth, according to Euromonitor and the NPD Group.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The 2008 Edelman Health Barometer found that people define overall health in terms of physical, mental/emotional, financial, and physical appearance. Clearly, this last category underlies CVS’s big bet on beauty in retail health.

Hard work keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and spirit HRThe CVS Health news reminded me of the Beauty is Power exhibit that was held at the Jewish Museum between October 31 2014 and March 22 2015. I toured the exhibit with a very beautiful BFF whom I’ve known for 30 years.

Rubinstein was a very successful woman entrepreneur, an immigrant from Poland who moved to Paris and London and, finally, settling in New York City where she found great success researching, developing, and marketing cosmetics. Some of them, in their day, were what we would term “cosmeceuticals” in today’s health-is-beauty-and-beauty-health parlance .

Following this revelatory (to me) exhibition, I studied Rubinstein’s biography and found true inspiration for my ever-broadening lens on health. I learned she wrote a book called Food for Beauty, and found a first edition on eBay which I snapped up via Buy It Now.

Food for beauty rubinsteinThe first printing of the book was in 1938. In the early chapter “Eating for Beauty,” Rubinstein recommends eating at least one-half of daily nutrition in the form of “raw and fresh and of great variety.” This, 70 years before Michael Pollan wrote In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto:

“Eat food.

Not too much. 

Mostly plants.”

Eating in her style of matière vivant  (“living matter”) would promote healthy skin, hair, bone health, and overall vitality, she wrote in the book.

Rubinstein dedicated the book “To the Women of America who believe in their natural heritage of the unending Spirit of Youth.”

This is the Beauty-Power connection – about spirit and vitality, to which we are all entitled — a “natural heritage” indeed. It is ours to hold onto. We are born with it, and we can continue to feed that sense of beauty within, through healthy decisions every day.

Here’s a video courtesy of the Jewish Museum on the exhibit – it’s worth a look…(skip the ad)…

The post Beauty, Health and Power appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/27/beauty-health-and-power/feed/ 0
Health Politics – Learning From History in Art from the Reagan/AIDS Era http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/24/health-politics-learning-from-history-in-art-from-the-reaganaids-era/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/24/health-politics-learning-from-history-in-art-from-the-reaganaids-era/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:55:57 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12892 The high cost of specialty drugs, opaque information on risks of many existing prescription drugs, and lack of cures for diseases impacting millions of people are forces driving patients into activism, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the emergence of AIDS. I was reminded this yesterday, not inside the Beltway at an FDA […]

The post Health Politics – Learning From History in Art from the Reagan/AIDS Era appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
IMG_1434.JPGThe high cost of specialty drugs, opaque information on risks of many existing prescription drugs, and lack of cures for diseases impacting millions of people are forces driving patients into activism, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the emergence of AIDS.

I was reminded this yesterday, not inside the Beltway at an FDA or Congressional hearing, or in an online social network of patient activists.

I was visiting the newly re-opened and re-built Whitney Museum, an architectural gem now re-energizing the Meatpacking District in Lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t the building design (which is getting rave reviews from architecture critics) that turned my mind toward a déjà vu on health politics, but in the Neil Bluhm Family Galleries on the 5th floor which features artworks created during the AIDS crisis beginning in the early 1980s.

IMG_1438.JPGThere is the iconic photograph of Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the great portrait photographers of his time who died too young, pictured here with his skull-sceptre. There is David Wojnarowicz’s One Day This Kid Will… moving autobiographical portrait and words, especially poignant because he died in 1992. And there’s the piece that resonated most with me as I wrestle with current health politics, the cost of Hep C meds, and the lack of cures for conditions close family and friends are dealing with: Alzheimer’s, paralysis, multiple myeloma, among others.

IMG_1436.JPGHe Kills Me is Donald Moffett’s indictment of AIDS and public health during the Reagan Presidency. This image speaks to Moffett’s (correct) view that the Federal government was avoiding and denying the presence of a new-new virus, turning away from a public health crisis that was killing young men in the prime of their lives, and not funding research that could have helped to stem the dying sooner.

Here’s a brief timeline, thanks to AIDS.gov, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • On June 5 1981, the CDC published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describing cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in five young, previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles. By the time the report was published, two had already died. Within days of the report’s publication, the CDC receives countless reports of similar cases from around the country.
  • On April 13, 1982, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman convened the first congressional hearings on HIV/AIDS.
  • On September 17, 1985, over four years after the initial CDC report, President Ronald Reagan said the acronym “AIDS” in public for the first time.
  • In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report critical of the U.S. response to a “national health crisis.” The report called for a $2 billion investment. An IOM report called for a national education campaign and sought to create a National Commission on AIDS.

The Whitney’s discussion of David W.’s self-portrait succinctly explains how art can explain politics better than any politician’s speech – art as an instrument of protest and a vehicle for enlightenment.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: I lost my dear friend Tony the year that Donald Moffett painted He Kills Me. Indeed, a part of me died when Tony died: he succumbed to AIDS so very quickly, and the end was very, very difficult.

ACT UPACT-UP was born in New York City in 1987 as the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. The founders and early members demonstrated in the NYC financial district near Wall Street in March that year to, in the words of ACT-UP, “protest the profiteering of the pharmaceutical companies,” namely, Burroughs-Wellcome (now absorbed into GSK), the maker of AZT — the first promising drug for HIV/AIDS.

fda protesta

The ACT-UP poster asserting that “Time isn’t the only thing the FDA is killing” resonates with people — patients, caregivers, loving friends of sick people — today, over a quarter-century after ACT-UP’s Wall Street protests. That was an early sentinel sign of an Occupy movement, discussed here in The Atlantic.

Art in its many forms — “fine,” street, and performance — makes manifest social movements. I expect we will witness more art expressed in the interest of health, individual and public, over the coming months and years focusing on health care costs, access, quality, and equity. My friend and colleague Regina Holliday is one such artist who is spawning such an artistic movement focused on patients’ rights to their health data.

IMG_1435.JPGFor a crystal-clear appreciation of AIDS politics in the Reagan era, must-reading is And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts. For a moving portrayal of life during and after the first generation of AIDS. then HIV as a chronic condition, see or read The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer. 

 

The post Health Politics – Learning From History in Art from the Reagan/AIDS Era appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/24/health-politics-learning-from-history-in-art-from-the-reaganaids-era/feed/ 0
Older People and Activity Tracking: AARP Weighs In http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/23/older-people-and-activity-tracking-aarp-weighs-in/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/23/older-people-and-activity-tracking-aarp-weighs-in/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:41:51 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12874 Activity and sleep trackers hold promise for the health and wellbeing of people over 50. But they’ve miles to go before their design and usefulness get props from older people. The AARP’s Project Catalyst report, Building a Better Tracker: Older Consumers Weigh in On Activity and Sleep Monitoring Devices, presents research conducted with Georgia Tech’s Home […]

The post Older People and Activity Tracking: AARP Weighs In appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
AARP why do older people exercise positive health Jul 15

Activity and sleep trackers hold promise for the health and wellbeing of people over 50. But they’ve miles to go before their design and usefulness get props from older people.

The AARP’s Project Catalyst report, Building a Better Tracker: Older Consumers Weigh in On Activity and Sleep Monitoring Devicespresents research conducted with Georgia Tech’s Home Lab which gave 92 people a digital wearable to track activity or sleep over a six week period. The second graphic shows the devices used in the study.

3 in 4 of the activityAARP devices used in tracker study Jul 15 tracking users said their devices were, or had the potential to be, useful. One-half reported feeling increased motivation for healthier living, and said they were more active, slept better, or ate more healthfully. People especially enjoyed learning about their personal activity and sleep patterns, receiving motivation by seeing progress made toward a goal, confirming current activity levels, and finding the device easy to use — when it was so.

The bottom line: 42% of the study participants said they planned to continue to use a wearable activity device in the future.

But older people are not unlike younger people in one major respect: many discontinued use before the end of the study, citing inaccuracies in data generated by the device, challenges in the instructions, syncing problems, and difficult in wearing the device (namely, discomfort).

 

User Experience Honeycomb Peter Morville

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The third graphic illustrates Peter Morville’s honeycomb for user experience design, the facets that must be considered when putting a product or service into a consumer’s hands and life.

The mindset of the older user in AARP’s study was that they exercise, first and foremost, for positive health — rated higher than avoiding illness, staying nimble, staying strong, or losing weight. With “positive health” top-of-mind for a consumer, there’s some goodwill from the start of adopting a digital activity tracker (especially true among women in the study). This positive-health mindset is also a central thesis in the book No Sweat by Dr. Michelle Segar, whose work focuses on motivating people to see exercise as a real-time gift we give ourselves.

The negative experience of a frustrating set of instructions, or itchy wristband, or device malfunction can quickly erode that goodwill, which impacts people under 50 as well and leads to abandonment of devices.

The seven honeycomb elements are all integral to a user’s perceptions on any new product or service. For activity tracking in health, they’re especially important because of the potential upside for personal wellness and quality of life. In health, several of these issues are major deal-breakers for a consumer:

  • Credibility – Can I trust the data that’s emanating out of the device? Can I trust where that data might be stored and shared?
  • Accessibility – Are features easy to use? Consider mobility and aging challenges, such as arthritic joints and vision correction.
  • Findability – Is the content easy to navigate? Are instructions clear, simple, and straightforward?

The over-arching answer to the questions is…design for the user. This isn’t a new answer, but the concept continues to challenge many of the most popular devices on the market available via mass merchants.

Note that the #1 factor that would guide an older person’s near-time purchase of an activity/sleep tracker is user reviews, above consulting with a health professional or talking with family and friends. Health is social, and good design, a beautiful viral thing.

The post Older People and Activity Tracking: AARP Weighs In appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/23/older-people-and-activity-tracking-aarp-weighs-in/feed/ 0
Entresto – model for future Rx? http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/22/entresto-model-for-future-rx/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/22/entresto-model-for-future-rx/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:11:45 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12852 The FDA approved Novartis’s new heart failure drug Entresto (LCZ696) on July 7, 2015. This product was approved under the FDA fast track program which prioritizes therapies that fill unmet needs for patients with life-threatening conditions. Heart failure affects over 5 million people in the U.S. and is often caused by heart attacks and high blood […]

The post Entresto – model for future Rx? appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
EntrestoThe FDA approved Novartis’s new heart failure drug Entresto (LCZ696) on July 7, 2015. This product was approved under the FDA fast track program which prioritizes therapies that fill unmet needs for patients with life-threatening conditions. Heart failure affects over 5 million people in the U.S. and is often caused by heart attacks and high blood pressure. So heart failure impacts lots of people and, in aggregate, the CDC says represents about $32 bn of medical spending annually in the U.S. and is a factor in 1 in 9 deaths in America each year.

Novartis is looking to price Entresto as much as $12.50 per day (= $4,562 a year), and envisions a $5 bn market.

What’s unique about this Rx launch is that:

  • It involved the largest clinical trial in its category of heart failure conducted among some 8,400 patients (the PARADIGM study)
  • It is the first prescription drug to show a 20% higher reduction in deaths from heart failure and trips to the hospital tested against the current standard, enalapril, an ACE inhibitor
  • The company is looking to partner with payors to go at-risk for payment in pay-for-performance reimbursement arrangements, with the full story covered here by Reuters
  • With its higher price tag vs. generic enalapril, Novartis is looking to digitally-enhance the product through remote health monitoring programs, which is one approach to add value beyond-the-pill and ensure medication adherence in a category that has had steep drop-off curves among the patient population.

Here is Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez in an interview with McKinsey, discussing the company’s innovations. Listen carefully at the 1-minute mark where the CEO discusses an outcomes-based approach to positioning Entresto…

Here is the company’s press release about the Entresto approval.

Vida your personal health coachHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  CEO Jimenez talks about the pharma company’s role in the larger health ecosystem, saying, “We’re going to have to partner with tech companies. We’re going to have to partner with data-management companies. We’re going to have to partner with providers in ways that can deliver a positive outcome so that we can improve the efficiency of that system. That’s the only way that we’re going to be able to deal with this aging population and constrained budgets.” Regular readers of Health Populi know this is our mantra and raison d’etre — the objective of connecting the fragmented health/care ecosystem to drive The Triple Aim.

But we are not techno-optimists 24×7. A well-considered commentary appeared in Medscape following Entresto’s approval. Dr. John Mandrola of the Louisville Cardiology Group (and contributor to TheHeart.org) argues for “slow medicine” in considering the cost/benefits of Entresto, giving ten reasons for slowing down, including both clinical and cost considerations.

And now there will be more scrutiny over costs in the form of a $5.2 mm grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation that will fund the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s research and reports on the pricing of new drugs and health system impacts.

Novartis isn’t the only pharma company looking to add value beyond-the-pill. Here’s a TechCrunch article by @SarahBuhr talking about AstraZeneca’s partnership with Vida to deploy a mobile health app, Day to Day, for health coaching for heart attack patients.

Look for more pills+digital combinations in the emerging era of digitally enhanced therapeutics.

The post Entresto – model for future Rx? appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/22/entresto-model-for-future-rx/feed/ 0
The $20 Fitness Tracker http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/17/the-20-fitness-tracker/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/17/the-20-fitness-tracker/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:00:52 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12832 Misfit Wearables launched a fitness tracker, the Flash Link, for under $20. The device offers “more powerful at a lower price,” according to the title of the company’s press release yesterday. Available now on Misfit’s website, the Flash Link is described as “an easy-to-use activity tracker and smart button. A low priced, modular, and multi-functional wearable, […]

The post The $20 Fitness Tracker appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
misfit-link-fitness-tracker-all-colors-510pxMisfit Wearables launched a fitness tracker, the Flash Link, for under $20. The device offers “more powerful at a lower price,” according to the title of the company’s press release yesterday.

Available now on Misfit’s website, the Flash Link is described as “an easy-to-use activity tracker and smart button. A low priced, modular, and multi-functional wearable, Flash Link gives users even more ways to connect with the world around them. Use any Flash or Flash Link with the Misfit Link app to take a selfie, control your music (pause, play, skip songs, adjust the volume), or advance slides in a presentation.”

misfit-flash-Link-AppThose additional “ways to connect with the world” and the “more powerful” aspects are enabled through the Flash app (now via iOS, and via Android in August). The music controls work with Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora, SoundCloud, and Spotify. Misfit plans additional functionality for managing smart home devices like the Nest (which Google acquired in January 2014 for $3.2 billion), IFTTT, and Logitech Harmony home hub.

As shown by the first graphic, the Flash Link isn’t a wristband, but a clip device that can be worn on anything it can be clipped to, such as a shirt, a shoe, or…yes, even a wrist.

Mi BandHealth Populi’s Hot Points:  The Flash Link’s price-point is now closer to what has been the lowest-price activity tracker on the market, the Mi Band from Xiaomi, which retails for about $18 on Amazon. That low-cost device was rated here on CNET as an “ultracheap fitness band” that “gets the job done.”

With the launch of Flash Link, Misfit meets its objective of designing consumer technology that is accessible to pretty much all people. As Tim Golnik, the VP of Product and Design at Misfit said, “We’re focused on making products everyone can use.”

Beyond the functionality of being a pedometer, the Flash Link toggles to the Internet of Things world through its smart home connections and ability to control phone photos, music, and what Misfit promises will be a growing list of connected IoT applications. That’s a lot of bang for a $20 bill, and a disruption to the (more pricey) oversupplied wristband activity tracker market.

The post The $20 Fitness Tracker appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/17/the-20-fitness-tracker/feed/ 0
Fitness tech will boost holiday retail sales for consumer electronics http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/16/fitness-tech-will-boost-holiday-retail-sales-for-consumer-electronics/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/16/fitness-tech-will-boost-holiday-retail-sales-for-consumer-electronics/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 05:07:00 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12819 Sales of computers and tablets and LCD TVs won’t be hot on peoples’ holiday shopping lists in 2015. But smartwatches, health and fitness tech, and 4K Ultra HD TVs will be in peoples’ gift wish-lists and under homes’ holiday trees. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) published its 2015 U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts report, […]

The post Fitness tech will boost holiday retail sales for consumer electronics appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
2015_CEA_Sales_and_Forecast_Tech_Outlook (1)Sales of computers and tablets and LCD TVs won’t be hot on peoples’ holiday shopping lists in 2015. But smartwatches, health and fitness tech, and 4K Ultra HD TVs will be in peoples’ gift wish-lists and under homes’ holiday trees.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) published its 2015 U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts report, and it shows a shifting retail picture where traditional consumer electronics categories — notably computers and mainstream TVs — are declining in demand. But new-new categories are expected to buoy 2015 retail sales.

The new categories of consumer electronics will generate about $10 bn (wholesale number) in 2015, doubling from the $5 bn spent in 2014. The largest revenue categories — tablets, LCD TV, laptops, and desktops (not including smartphones, one of the “dynamic duo” growth categories according to the CEA) — are flat-to-declining in sales. Smartphones are expected to grow about 5% from 2015 sales.

Wearable tech in CEA forecast for 2015 Christmas in July

Digging into the wearables segment, CEA identifies three categories:

– Smart watches, worth $542 mm in 2014 rising to $2,370 in 2015 and forecasted to $2,370 in 2016.

– Smart eyewear, estimated at $151 mm in 2014 falling to $100 in 2015, but growing 5X in 2016 to $540.

– Health and fitness, gauged at $1.5 bn in 2014, growing to $1.8 bn in 2015 and forecasted to nearly $2 bn in 2016.

CEA calls out two key words in the trends toward the new tech categories driving overall consumer electronics growth: connected and mobile.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Unit sales growth for health and fitness tech in 2014 was 16.8 mm units, expected to rise to 20.3 mm in 2015 and 22.8 mm in 2016. This calculates to unit-growth rate increases of 20.6% from 2014-15, and 12.7% between 2015-16. Thus, CEA expects the growth rate for purchases of wearable fitness tech to significantly fall between 2015 and 2016.

Does this mean that the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone, Basis, Garmin, et. al., will be irrelevant in 2017? Since its IPO last month, Fitbit has lots of cash to work with to reinvent what a wearable tracker is, and the other competitors in the space have opportunities to do the same. But the advent of Under Armour in the health-apps ecosystem, Apple and Google in their respective worlds, and Microsoft and Samsung, among other companies and collaborations — will change the very nature of what we “wear” to track our health.

For example, Proteus, known first for its medication adherence “smart pill,” is innovating a patch called Recover focusing on physiological metrics of athletes. My smart colleague Jonah Comstock scooped the story in late 2014 in MobiHealthNews, and talked about the patch and the trademark filing which defined the product as, “Downloadable software for monitoring physiological data; computer software for retrieving, saving, analyzing, displaying, graphing, annotating or exporting data collected by, or utilized in conjunction with, a physiological sensor, and for configuring the physiological sensor; computer program for analyzing physiological data in conjunction with game performance data to facilitate optimization of training, improvement, and recuperation of athletes and determining an individual athlete’s optimum training formula; electronic sensor for sensing, detecting, deriving, generating, collecting, storing, monitoring, transmitting and reporting physiological data related to personal health, nutrition, fitness, and wellness.”

New entrants we’ve not mentioned here will continue to morph and shape the nature of the health/care wearable. Watch this space; and stay mindful of CEA’s forecast. The plethora of wrist-banded health trackers has reached its peak.

The post Fitness tech will boost holiday retail sales for consumer electronics appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/16/fitness-tech-will-boost-holiday-retail-sales-for-consumer-electronics/feed/ 0
Sports and the Internet of Things: the Scoop & Score podcast http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/15/sports-and-the-internet-of-things-the-scoop-score-podcast/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/15/sports-and-the-internet-of-things-the-scoop-score-podcast/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:40:06 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12798 From elite soccer and football fields to youth athletes in public school gyms, wearable technology has come to sports bringing two big benefits of gathering data at the point of exercise: to gauge performance and coach back to the athlete in real time, and to prevent injury. I discussed the advent of the Internet of […]

The post Sports and the Internet of Things: the Scoop & Score podcast appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
Under Armour bra Lindsay VonnFrom elite soccer and football fields to youth athletes in public school gyms, wearable technology has come to sports bringing two big benefits of gathering data at the point of exercise: to gauge performance and coach back to the athlete in real time, and to prevent injury.

I discussed the advent of the Internet of Things in sports on the Scoop and Score podcast with Andrew Kahn, sports journalist and writer, and Stephen Kahn, sports enthusiast and business analyst. [In full disclosure these two Kahn’s are also my brilliant nephews.]

We recorded the podcast on July 14, 2015, the day that Under Armour launched the new Armour Bra line, featuring the company’s Women of Will Lindsey Vonn, Gisele Bundchen, Misty Copeland, Kelley O’Hara, and Brianna Cope. Under Armour is morphing from manufacturing sports gear and apparel into a smart clothing and technology company. Through the acquisitions of Endomondo, Map My Run, and My Fitness Pal, UA serves at least 130 million consumers sharing data through those apps platforms. That’s a lot of knowledge to aggregate and mine for understanding, say, the relationship between a demographic and its collective daily calories and weight loss/gain experience over time. When I interviewed Mike and Al Lee, the founders of MFP at Health 2.0, they told me that they believed MFP had the largest longitudinal health database in the world based on the millions of users sharing information on weight, food, and other observations of daily living.

MiCoach diagramAdidas is another company changing up its game from the first athletic shoe company I knew as a young girl running track in high school to a smart gear and wearables company. Adidas has supplied every game ball used in the World Cup since 1970, and has innovated the miCoach Smart Ball whose sensors gauge kicks and, through a Bluetooth connection, communicate back to a user (say, a coach) the data on the kick. Real-time coaching advice is given through the app. miCoach is also the brand of adidas’s wearables, shown in the second illustration, focusing on heart function and providing coaching back to the user. Adidas is also working through Interactive Health Technologies to get heart wearable tech into the hands of school students to promote physical activity in young people.

On the smart ball front, basketball is the focus on some startups embedding balls with sensors and accompanied by apps to help people with their jump or three-point shot. Network World reported on July 8, 2015, some companies focused on b’ball and IoT, including the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball from InfoMotion Sports Technologies (which also offers a smart net) and the ShotTracker wearable wristband with a sensor that clips onto a net. Both devices link to smartphone apps via Bluetooth. The video explains more about the 94Fifty ball.

Reebok checklight MC10 2014 CES award winnerWe finished up our wide-ranging conversation on the challenge of concussions in sports. I called out the statistic that over 3 million young people in sports are diagnosed with a concussion every year in the U.S. But the prevalence is undoubtedly much greater, since as many as 80% of concussions go undiagnosed. A Boston University study published in Neurology (aptly titled “Football: Child’s Play, Adult Peril?”) found that players who started football before 12 years of age had greater cognitive loss as they aged than athletes who started playing football over 12 years of age. Thus, starting concussion prevention and diagnosis in youth sports makes sense. For prevention and detection, Reebok worked with MC10 to develop the Checklight skullcap, to be worn under a helmet. This wearable won an innovation award from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.

But as we discussed on the podcast, we can’t live in a Field of Dreams world for wearable tech in health and fitness — and particularly for concussion prevention. Devices to prevent and detect concussions on the field, court and track have been around for a few years, with lagging sales. As Mike Troiano, with data management company Actifio, told the Boston Globe, “You can imagine one kid on a team showing up with this technology, and being seen as a momma’s boy.”

alex-torres-mets-hatAndrew pointed out a positive development on the podcast, saying that more fans are endorsing pulling injured players from the field earlier to ensure they are well. And a handful of athletes are getting out in front of this, like Alex Torres who wears an oversized cap for protection.

Ben Harvatine was once an MIT wrestler who took many hits, and subsequently started up the Jolt sensor for concussion injury prevention. He predicted in the Globe story that one day it will be “a natural thing to say, ‘Don’t forget your shin guards, your mouth guards, and your Jolt sensor.'”

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Listen to the entire podcast at Scoop and Score here. And look back at the podcast’s archives to hear engaging coverage on all matters of sports, personalities, and the stories behind the games and the players.

Adidas shoes from JSK 1972PS — Here’s a pic of what my original Adidas from 1972 that Dad brought home for me looked like.

The post Sports and the Internet of Things: the Scoop & Score podcast appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/15/sports-and-the-internet-of-things-the-scoop-score-podcast/feed/ 0
Collaboration in health/care drives value – in & beyond bio/pharma http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/13/collaboration-in-healthcare-drives-value/ http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/13/collaboration-in-healthcare-drives-value/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 23:06:31 +0000 http://healthpopuli.com/?p=12784 “Tomorrow [drug makers] may not get paid for the molecule, they may only get paid for the outcome,” expects Brian Niznik of Qualcomm Life. He’s quoted in a report from PwC’s Health Research Institute, 21st Century Pharmaceutical Collaboration: The Value Convergence. What Brian’s comment recognizes is the growing value-based environment for healthcare, which couples purchasers […]

The post Collaboration in health/care drives value – in & beyond bio/pharma appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
PwC 21st century collaboratory for pharma July 2015

“Tomorrow [drug makers] may not get paid for the molecule, they may only get paid for the outcome,” expects Brian Niznik of Qualcomm Life. He’s quoted in a report from PwC’s Health Research Institute, 21st Century Pharmaceutical Collaboration: The Value Convergence.

What Brian’s comment recognizes is the growing value-based environment for healthcare, which couples purchasers driving down drug costs via discounts and stringent formulary (approved drug list) contracts, and growing patient responsibility for paying for prescription drugs — especially financially costly for specialty drugs that are new-new molecules.

But as Brian points out, if the high-cost molecule doesn’t perform as expected, the drug may not get paid for or prescribed by clinicians for use in patients.

A success factor in this new world health payment world is collaboration, and there are four key stakeholders the illustration presents that will drive change: government agencies and policymakers (particularly those on Capitol Hill and in State houses); health plans, both health care insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs); new entrants to the health care ecosystem that are disrupting traditional business biopharma business flows, like wearables companies, Internet-enabled and consumer technology firms (like Google, Apple, and Samsung), and novel health-tech firms like 23andMe.

The fourth key stakeholder is the consumer and patient advocacy organizations who, via social media and technology platforms, are able to aggregate patients into research-ready cohorts and support systems for peer-to-peer healthcare and Citizen Science (people-powered) research networks (PPRNs). (For more on PPRNs, visit the PCORI website).

These four stakeholders, individually and often in tandem (or trios), shape patients’ access to new therapies developed by the bio/pharma industry. Insurers use data (increasingly “Big”) to consider formulary decisions based on expected utilization and a product’s impact on a patient population. Policymakers are weighing legislation to enable drug companies to communicate the cost-benefit of new products, PwC notes. New entrants work to provide price transparency, clinical trial participation opportunities, and patient social networks that enable a patient in Switzerland to communicate with her peer in Los Angeles and share their experiences with side effects caused by a particular therapy.

“Biopharmaceutical companies cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as patients and health plans negotiate access to their products,” PwC recommends. That calls for collaboration between bio/pharma firms and the four stakeholders, especially patients as partners, working well with purchasers (employers, buying groups), and piloting projects with new entrant companies using novel technologies and methods for enabling patients to self-care, to enroll and engage in research, and more effective stick with medication adherence regimens.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  I wrote about patients wanting to participate in research here on Health Populi back in 2011, when Quintiles’ survey work uncovered this consumer demand. “Collaboration is the New Black,” I wrote then, and it is even more true a statement now.

Furthermore, Accenture’s recent study found that people want to DIY with pharma, as I discussed here in this discussion of Accenture’s report. Patients/consumers really do want to get into the sandbox with pharma and collaborate to co-create health, and health products.

At the end of the day, after the pilot projects and purchaser conversations, patient collaboratives and political lobbying, bio/pharma companies must put forward the argument — via solid, transparent data — that new-new expensive products are, indeed, cost-effective and drive significant clinical benefits — seen through the lens of each stakeholder group.

 

 

 

The post Collaboration in health/care drives value – in & beyond bio/pharma appeared first on Health Populi.

]]>
http://healthpopuli.com/2015/07/13/collaboration-in-healthcare-drives-value/feed/ 0