Dr. Kevin Most: CES Las Vegas showcased new products to make us healthier
Last week was the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is the show where companies tout their new inventions as well as their advancements in current products. It does go beyond the Smart Home, self-driving cars, bigger and better TV’s, gaming Virtual reality, augmented reality……. The list goes on as you can imagine. Health care has taken a step up this year with 65,000 square feet of CES space set for medical devices along with more space for wellness companies touting their programs.
Some of the advancements are quite cool and others are advancements on current products that I assume we will see advance even more in the future. Let’s touch on a few that were highlighted at the show.
We have talked about the importance of sleep in our overall health. It is interesting that we can live without food for months as long as we have water but we cannot live beyond 10 days without sleep. The science of sleep as we have discussed impacts our overall health including cardiac and mental health in particular. With close to 90,000,000 individuals in the US suffering from some sleep issue, insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, restless leg, teeth grinding, it is a big problem. Couple that with a $80 billion dollar cost and you get the attention of many
So what is new in sleep medicine at the CES. Now many of us do not have sleep apnea or any of the other conditions noted yet we still do not get a good night’s sleep and wake up tired and don’t know what to do. We often have no idea where to start and have no idea why we have poor sleeping patterns, many then go to sleeping aids like Tylenol PM. Instead of medication, your personal sleep information may be a much better option to improvement. There is a new product called SleepscoreMax. It is a device that sits next to your bed and monitors how you sleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up, how long did you actually sleep, your breathing patterns, your movements, how often you awoke, the temperature in the room and more data points. Importantly, it does this without you wearing any devices and in the comfort of your bedroom
Sleepscore also collects other data points. Sleepscore also allows you to add other data points, such as, how many caffeinated drinks you had, how much you exercised that day, your perceived stress level, the light in your room, the ambient sound in your room. It takes all the data points and then gives recommendations on what you can do to improve your sleep based on data collected from your pattern and input along with other large sleep studies. This ends up being a lifestyle product, it gives you advice on how to have a better night’s sleep and change your lifestyle to improve your health. For individuals with sleep issues Sleepscore is a great product as it will impact your health, you use it in your home, you don’t need to wear any monitors and it can be shared with family members.
It is also an educational tool as it helps you understand the impacts of lifestyle on sleep. The cost is $149 dollars, which is reasonable if it can make an impact on how you feel every day and more importantly your cardiac and mental health.
One more about sleep as it appeared to be a big topic at CES. Why you may ask, well as in mostbusinesses follow the money. Sleep studies done in hospitals or sleep labs are very expensive and a burden to the patient. Scheduled sleep studies are very troublesome, you can’t predict how your day will go that day, what the next day holds, are you sick has something come up and you need to cancel. Just The monitoring equipment and trying to sleep in a foreign environment and still get a good study with accurate data has made this a focus of many companies. The explosion of home sleep studies has been seen over the past year as patients and insurance companies are starting to look into less expensive options that possibly deliver better information.
The concept of sleep apnea is now common in the community, that is when an individual essentially stops breathing for periods of time during sleep. This is often due to our anatomy in the back of our throat and devices have been made to eliminate that concern. The devices to treat the single issue of sleep apnea have changed dramatically in the past years, from loud clunky machines and uncomfortable face masks to small oral devices that make no noise. The entire science of sleep has gotten the attention of many electronics companies.
One such company is Somnarus, they highlighted their SomnaPatch. This is a small non-obtrusive device that one wears at home while sleeping. It tracks sleep, airflow, respiratory rate and effort, heart rate and blood oxygen levels and body position. It is essential a home sleep study completed while wearing the minimum amount of devices and is completed in your own home environment
We all know that the Apple watch is able to take your pulse. That does allow you to know how often your heart is beating in a minute, what it doesn’t tell you is the cadence or rhythm of that rate. What I mean by that is the heart should beat in a regular cadence with each beat occurring in a regular rhythm. Sometimes our heart decides it does not want to beat in a regular rhythm and we get an irregular heartbeat. This can be caused by many issue and vary in number and intensity. For example if you have what we call a PVC, or a premature ventricular contraction, the large pumping chamber of the heart contracts. This often occurs before it can completely fill but is still often felt by the patient. Often this is an inconvenience and not serious but it does scare the patient and should be checked
The other main type is something called atrial fibrillation. Now this can be much more serious. In this condition the atrium. The small holding chamber of the heart does not pump well and in fact kind of shakes irregularly. As it does not impact blood flow to the body it often goes unnoticed by the patient. However the fibrillation of the atrium slows blood flow and allows for clots to form, those clots are then sent to the brain causing a stroke. Many strokes are caused by atrial fibrillation in patients who had no idea they had the condition. Patients who have afib are placed on blood thinners to prevent a stroke. The way to identify it is by a doctor listen to your heart and doing an EKG.
New technology now from a company Alivecor, allows patients to actually identify Atrial fibrillation in their home, it does this by collecting an EKG by placing fingers on a small pad that is attached to their smartphone. At CES they also showed that they now have a product called Kardia Band, that will do the same thru an Apple watch band. This is a great tool, often a patient will have a symptom of dizziness or palpitations. This tool allows the patient to view and record a 30 Second tracing of their heart rhythm which can be shared with their physician. Now let’s be careful, this is not the same as getting a full EKG from your doctor or the hospital but it is medical grade and does serve a great purpose. Patients will often flip from A fib to regular rhythm and thus it is not caught on an ekg in the office, palpations as sometimes only felt at unpredictable times so an office based EKG is often normal. Kardia Band allows the patient to record the heart tracing straight from their iPhone band. If you don’t have an iPhone no worries, they have a small hand-held tool that is linked to a smart phone. It allows you to record your voice as well describing your feelings as you record your heart rhythm. This allows the doctor to see the rhythm while you describe the feeling. This information is great for doctors and decreases the frustration from both doctors and patients as capturing the heart rhythm can be difficult with timing.
Doctors can have patients use this to monitor their response to medications, track patients after a heart procedure, allow doctors to see how your heart responds to activity. Probably the mostimportant is it may help identify patients who are at a high risk for a stroke and allow a doctor to intervene and prevent the stroke from happening. The cost is $199, for the Apple watch, and $99 for the handheld, just think if it saves you one trip to the ER, less trips to the doctor’s office or identifies that bad heart rhythm before it has a chance to cause a problem. The website is http://www.Alivecor.com and you can purchase thru the website without a doctor’s order.
We have talked multiple times about weight and scales, personally I weight myself daily and have set goals which helps me set the tone for the day. I realize that weight can vary a few pounds a day but for me a simple scale sets the tone. Many individuals do not want to see their weight, and the concept of weight management goes well beyond a simple number of your weight. A new company has a new way to help you with your weight goals, the company is Shapa. Shapa has a unique way to use a bath scale, it does not tell you your weight, it actually does not have any numbers on the scale. What??? How can a scale not give you your weight and be expected to work? This follows the concept that encouragement and information is more important than a single numerical weight.
Shapa is a company that actually takes the simple thought of getting on a scale and expanding it to a healthy lifestyle tool. They realize that hitting a weight goal goes well beyond knowing your daily weight. In fact, you cannot get your weight from the app, the goal is to tell you what direction you are heading in your journey. This tool collects all the data you would normally track like steps from your phone. The scale measures your weight, it takes that data point along with others and gives you recommendations that build long term healthy habits. Based on the daily input, it gives you a color when you stand on the scale but this is not based on single day data, it takes into consideration the weights over the past few weeks and the activity over the past 3 weeks and it tells you how you are doing by giving you a color. This concept eliminates the single weight variation we see when using a regular scale. The color tells you how you are doing based on your set goals. The color gives you the direction you are headed towards your goals.
Shapa also gives you reminders thru the day on what to do for your health and weight. It may be a reminder just before lunch to add a vegetable, it may set a goal of walking after dinner, it gives you reminders about grocery shopping. These helpful reminders as well as the color reminder lead to healthier lifestyles and are not tied just to a number on a scale. The website is www.Shapa.me and the cost is around $100 right now.
This is a tool that will help you with diet and lifestyle changes to impact your health, this is a tool that will help you lose weight as well as help you in your cardiovascular health as you continue to track in a forward manner and remind you when you are falling off track.
Hopefully you see that the tools we highlighted here not only impact your immediate health but also impact your lifestyle for continued success.
Probably one of the most innovation or disruptive tools shared is one named Tyto. Tyto Home has a small hand-held device that actually allows a parent to capture the data of a physical exam without ever leaving your home. Think about your last doctors visit for a respiratory infection. The doctor took your vitals, looked in your ears and throat, listened to your lungs and heart. What if I told you this tool allows you to do this exam and transmit high definition photos and recordings of the exam. To a doctor. Tyto Home makes sure that the lay person places the scanner or camera in the correct place. The doctor would then receive all of the info and use this to make a diagnosis., and send your prescription to the pharmacy or Amazon and then it is delivered. The whole exam done in your home in real time, medication delivered, you never leave your home and you save that sick day, or your child does not miss a school day.
The doctor can enlarge the photo, he can turn up the volume on the recording or he can share the data with others for an accurate diagnosis. Oh yeah, the records and photos can also be saved in the medical record
So, think about that, instead of taking a day off of work to go to the doctor’s office or ER, you use Tyto Home. How about the rural family that has a long drive to the doctor? Think about the doctor who wants to check on that young asthma patients who was in the office the day before. He wants to hear the child’s lungs and know his vitals; this tool allows this to occur at home. Tyto Home allows the doc to check back multiple times. Think about the patient with a rash, a simple photo will also allow for a quick diagnosis and have treatment started without going to the dermatologist. It would also allow dermatologist to treat many more patients in a day while capturing a photo versus words describing it. Tyto Home would allow patients to participate in their care and save thousands of dollars. The national impact of this could be 100 of millions of dollars.
So how much would you pay for a tool like this? Would you believe $299. The return on this investment would be made with avoiding a single ER visit, or just saving a single work day. I actually see this as a tool companies may provide to their employees as a wellness incentive as it may impact their company productivity by allowing patients and parents to be at work instead of sitting in a waiting room
This may be a huge disruptor in how we deliver a lot of care in the future.