Finding Health IT at #CES2019

Having been to the annual International CES (formerly Consumer Electronic Show) conference for the past 13 years, it’s sometimes hard to find the real wow moments. I’m sure part of it is that I’ve kept up with a lot of technology throughout the year and the other part is that many of the digital health items are iterations on things they’ve announced previously. I’m not sure how much more fitness trackers and blood pressure cuffs can be innovated on.

Plus, sometimes it’s hard to hear the news about digital health products when they’re competing with autonomous car designs, a drone large enough to carry humans, and a massive yacht (yes, I’m not kidding, there was a yacht with a working hot tub on the show floor).

With that said, I did find a number of interesting things at CES that might be of interest to the world of healthcare IT professionals. I took a picture of each, so I thought I’d rather show you some of what I saw rather than tell you. Plus, next week, we’ll share a video of some of the cool things we saw too.


The work companies are doing with screens is amazing. This is just one example of a flexible screen. They were putting it on all sorts of things including hats and shirts. I’m not sure all the places this will be used in healthcare, but some of this goes back to screens becoming a lot more portable and everything becoming a screen.


This one didn’t feel quite as new, but I hadn’t seen that many belts that did fall risk detection. Plus, they taught me an interesting nuance. They can’t claim to do fall detection without a bunch more work, but they can assess the risk of fall. It gets really challenging to evaluate these nuances as a consumer. However, I thought their belts were a nice design and something I could see people wearing. Plus, it has all your standard fitness tracker functionality as well.


As someone who suffers from sinus issues thanks to allergies, I was really intrigued by the ClearUp product from Tivic Health. The product was really easy to use and I could see myself doing this regularly if it was proven effective. I did one full treatment while they talked with me about the product which made me want to get my own device and see how it works long term. You can read all the research behind the product and the FDA clearance they’ve gotten. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one for when it officially comes out.


This augmented reality mask by Neutrogena really caught my attention as well. They first took my picture and then based on that picture, the app created a custom mask for me and my skin care needs. It’s designed to see where pimples and other skin issues are so that the mask can apply treatment just where it’s needed. Was a fascinating look at what personalized skin care could look like. In this next picture, you can see the mask and the other device they use to create the custom mask.


The other device which you plug on your phone is used to measure the moisture in your skin. This data together with the picture you take is what’s used to create this custom mask. This product isn’t on the market and they told me it would be priced similar to other Neutrogena skin care products. However, it was a really interesting look into how technology can help to personalize the care we receive.


No one was at the booth when I saw this device and maybe that’s good. Urinary incontinence is not my favorite subject. However, I know that it’s a big problem. Especially as you get older. If the option is I need to wear this or a diaper, I’m quite sure I’d be wearing this device. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to talk to someone to really know how effective it was at detection. It is an illustration that someone is working on just about everything.


You probably didn’t know that fragance diffusers were high tech, but they are. I’m not fully sure of the healthcare application here, but I wondered if it was a great or an awful idea to have one of these tied to some of those smart beds in hospitals. I can see how it might be a nice feature for patients to be able to choose what scent they want in the room. I could also see how it might be bad for their healing if they choose the wrong scent. I’m not sure about how the nurses would feel about each room having its own scent. That said, it might smell better than the other smells that happen in hospitals. I also don’t know how cost effective this would be either. Has someone done a study on scents in hospital rooms, exam rooms, or waiting rooms? If so, let me know. Of course, if you want one for your home, you can buy them on Amazon. It’s got some pretty cool features and is better than the candles or other scent options.


Fall detection has been a big thing for a long time at CES. Originally it was a necklace that you wore. Then, it went to bracelets. Now we have the full spectrum of devices that will detect when your loved one falls including custom shoes. I thought it was an interesting idea since shoes are something they often wear. I just wish the company had been an insert rather than the full shoe. Plus, their pricing model seemed weird.


This is one of the latest devices from Withings. It’s called the BPM Core and can deliver accurate blood pressure and heart rate, as well as ECG monitoring and has a digital stethoscope. The design felt a little clunky to me, but it was nice to see Withings out there releasing new stuff again. Nokia wasn’t a good fit for the company and I’m interested to see how they do now that they’re back on their own.


This little machine caught my eye since I love the idea of incorporating gaming into my health. I tested out the machine, but you could tell the integration wasn’t fully thought out. It was more like the machine did the health tests on me and then I played the pinball game instead of the machine doing the health tests on me while I was playing the pinball game. The game was fun, but the integration with the health monitoring fell short for me.


Ok. This last one is a stretch, but it was too cool not to share. This BreadBot is an awesome bread making machine. It makes bread from scractch including the mixing, kneading, proofing, and cooking. Plus, it even delivers the loaf with all the data about when it was cooked and how long it has been there. Pretty amazing to see a new loaf of fresh bread come out every 8 minutes.

It’s not really healthcare, but many healthcare organizations have started opening their own food pantries and food trucks. So, why not have a fresh bread maker as well? More likely is the BreadBot will show up at your local store where you can purchase freshly made bread with no preservatives. The idea sounds like a delicious way to improve health.

Those were a few of the things I saw that stood out this year. I was also really impressed with the progression that VR, 3D printing, and drones have made. It’s amazing what’s possible in all of those areas, but not sure exactly how they’ll impact healthcare. There’s too much money to be made in other areas for them.

Interestingly enough, when I tweeted about CES, a lot of people were wishing they could come. Made me wonder if next year we should invite all the healthcare people that want to come to join us and we can tour CES as a group. Could be fun to spend a few days at CES with a bunch of healthcare people.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

2 Comments

  • Sounds pretty interesting John. I didn’t see it. In fact, I saw a ton of signage for virtual assistant or voice powered stuff, but didn’t see any applications that really blew me away. Of course, I was just one person going for part of CES. So, I missed probably 95% of what was there. That’s the nature of a 170,000 person event I guess.

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