Health 2.0 and the future of health technology

In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, health technology has been increasing in popularity in recent years. From the latest tracking gadgets to improving the efficiency of hospitals, technology innovators are hard at work everyday to advance the use of technology in the space.

Health 2.0, the annual health technology conference, just wrapped up its eighth year exploring trends, breakthroughs and the latest industry products. As someone that has followed this conference and the sector for several years, there are a few trends that stood out this time round.

When Apple launched the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch in September, there was a surprising focus on user wellbeing. The Apple Watch will make it possible to track steps and movement like never before, and the addition of a health focused dashboard in the latest version of iOS makes it clear that tracking and understanding health is a priority for many. Wearables like the Apple Watch were present at Health 2.0, with a runway show focused on wearable products as well as a lively discussion about how this technology can positively impact lifestyles.

From the FitBit steps tracker to the wireless iHealth blood pressure manager, technology now exists to track just about anything. What is still missing, however, is the ability for doctors to use this information when making a diagnosis.

According to a survey by Medscape and WebMD released at Health 2.0, the majority of physicians and patients agree that a smartphone can be a useful diagnostic tool. That said, just one-third of physicians said they would use a smartphone to perform an ear or eye exam, while about a half of patients would do so.

Another trend that continues to grow from year to year is the power of data in healthcare. Knowing when and where the next flu outbreak is happening can inform important decisions like making sure enough of a vaccine is available to treat patients quickly. Policy leads are working closely with many of the companies that track this data to better understand how to use it in a way that is helpful but still maintains the level of security and privacy inherently necessary in the healthcare space.

Did you attend Health 2.0 or do you keep an eye on this space? If so, what trends stand out to you?

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