Maintaining today's healthcare systems and funding future medical advances will be difficult without major reforms. Insurance companies will use these data to make premiums higher for high-risk patients or to reduce their business risks by alerting patients about bad lifestyle choices. In a dystopian scenario, companies will only provide patients with insurance if they are allowed to access all of the patient's data, including data coming from sleep and fitness trackers, the blood pressure and ECG they store and gadgets they use to assess their general well-being. At the end of the day, if I need to share my fitness tracker's data with my health insurance company in order to enjoy the rewards of living a healthy life and to have an equally compensated healthcare system, I'm happy to do that.
'Hyper wellbeing' is a new movement to support a new consumer technology industry. It represents a power shift towards the consumer and the future of mobile, wearables, health and wellness. It is a consumer revolution that will restructure healthcare, redefine the meaning of health and rewrite the boundary of wellness. It is where value is shifting to and where additional value will be created. Today it is manifesting as a conglomerate of medicalization of the smartphone; the impending upgrade to clinical-grade sensors in wearables, within smartphones and within a burgeoning market of smartphone peripherals; the explosion of health, fitness and wellness apps; the rise of connected fitness and wellness consumer electronics; the consumerization of healthcare and medical devices.
Compared to the financial services sector where blockchain and AI have, in many ways, revolutionised operations, healthcare has been slower to move with these types of innovation. At the same time, people are living longer but present more care demands on the health system, leading to bed shortages and longer wait lists for treatment. With the NHS creaking under ever-increasing pressures to serve a growing population of the elderly and obese, and all on unsustainable budgets, mobilising technology to provide relief from this strain seems like the only solution to an unfolding crisis. One major trend in healthcare is intervention; the growing focus on prevention rather than cure. The growth in sedentary lifestyles imposes an unsustainable burden on healthcare provision.
Scientists, researchers, and innovators come up with amazing breakthroughs every year, and that was no different in 2017 either. No matter whether we look at physics (proving the existence of gravitational waves), astronomy (discovering new planets) or biology (detecting a fluorescent frog in Brazil), we come across mind-blowing scientific findings everywhere. Healthcare was no exception, moreover, some say the field of medicine is one of the most innovative fields today.
Fitbit started life in 2007, with its founders touting a circuit board in a box as a way to lure investors. After selling its vision to consumers -- it managed to convince 5,000 people to pre-order the first version of its fitness tracker -- and venture capitalists, it began selling devices in 2009. By 2015, it went public with a multibillion dollar IPO, and by 2016, one in two fitness trackers sold were Fitbits. But by 2017, sales started to fall off, as consumers shifted to fully-featured smartwatches rather than lower-tech fitness bands and its revenue and stock price began to tumble. Its sales were eventually surpassed by Apple's, which was able to sell more wearables despite devices prices that were often over $100 more than Fibit's.