September 2015

Some ‘patients’ – usually people with chronic condition who use health services as much as many use their local supermarket – are pushing for more, many techies are fiddling about with the emergency of tech-driven fitness, and the big companies [Apple, Alphabet/Novartis, Microsoft, Fitbit etc] know they’re on to something. And, not to be forgotten, the ever-increasing number of ‘Health hack’ conferences are popping up worldwide.

The demand is insatiable, and I’m delighted to see it’s finally happening.

Right now many of the consumer gadgets are just that  – toys. They rarely have the capability or indeed the legal, regulatory, approval to go beyond incentives for a better lifestyle. None of them can really make health claims, but they’re all hovering around the field.

From social competitiveness with Nike Fuel points, peer-pressure rankings from the number of paces you’ve walked, pretty pictures of food you’re suppose to eat, they are however, building a platform to bolt on much more interesting and valuable clinical capability.

The bridge from taking a pulse to a good indicator of blood pressure  – or glucose reading – is surely not all that far off.

Take the Apple Watch: Launched with enormous fanfare and Apple was keen to show off its ‘state of the art’ ‘top secret’ ‘health and fitness lab’ to accentuate what it saw as an important component of the wearable.

The bulging ceramic (or glass on the lower-cost model) back plate is rumoured to be  technically capable of more than reading a pulse. Perhaps by the 2nd or 3rd generation, we could dare to hope that this back plate will do a heck of a lot more, including blood pressure readings (via PST). Now, whether they market it as blood pressure remains to be seen. I suspect ultimately it will depend on legal rather than technical decisions.

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Official eHealth Week ’16 Press release:


AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – (HealthTech Wire / News) – eHealth Week, the leading eHealth event of Europe, will take place in Amsterdam on 8 – 10 June 2016. This was announced in Amsterdam yesterday during the Info Day about the eHealth Week. The event is organised by the Dutch Ministry of Health, the European Commission and HIMSS Europe. eHealth Week is an official part of the Presidency of the Netherlands in the Council of the European Union which will take place from 1 January until 30 June 2016. During eHealth Week 2016, over 2,000 international experts in IT and healthcare, public institutions, professional and patient organisations are being expected.

“eHealth can improve outcomes for patients”

Director Paul Timmers, Digital Society, Trust and Security, DG Connect, European Commission, stated during the meeting: Digital solutions can empower citizens to manage their health, while health and care systems can improve their efficiency and cope with the increasing demand from an ageing population. eHealth can not only save time and costs, using resources more efficiently and avoiding duplication, but also improve outcomes for patients.”

The latest eHealth developments will be discussed during the eHealth Week. Presentations will be delivered by high level speakers through workshops, sessions and interactive panel discussions. eHealth Week will bring together government and ministerial delegations as well as the private sector, thus encouraging productive discussions around how these two areas complement each other and what lessons can be learned.

Christina Roosen, Vice-President at HIMSS Europe added: “We are particularly excited to be announcing next year’s host country as The Netherlands as one of the most digitally mature countries in the EU. It is home to one of the three HIMSS EMRAM  Stage 7 hospitals in Europe as well as having eight Stage 6 hospitals: it is an ideal place for the European eHealth Community to come together. We hope to gather eHealth leaders from every region in Europe to encourage knowledge sharing so we can strive towards our common goal: to advance healthcare through information technology.”

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