Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 117 · 1 month ago

Wearables take a ‘step’ beyond fitness w/ João Bocas


You can find a wearable on just about any wrist these days - or finger, or even a shirt. The point is: Wearables are evolving.

No longer the simple step trackers of the early 2000s, wearable technology has reached out into the world of heart rate monitors and even O2 sensors.

But with that evolution comes a boatload of data. How that data is disseminated and handled could be the key to wearables revolutionizing healthcare across the board.

João Bocas knows a lot about wearables - he’s often referred to as the #1 digital health influencer. And in this week’s episode, he joins us as we take a deep dive into the world of wearable technology.

From understanding which wearable might work for you, how much is too much data, and how AI is poised to take data analysis to a whole new level, we’ve got your answers!

Here are the show highlights:

  • Taking a ‘step’ beyond trackers - how wearables have evolved (5:24)
  • The trajectory of wearables toward better health (6:14)
  • How to make wearables work for you (10:19)
  • Breaking down barriers to wearable tech (19:45)
  • What you need to know about AI and wearable tech (20:45)
  • What entrepreneurs need to do to break down barriers to human health (25:05) 

Guest Bio

João Bocas is billed as the #1 digital health influencer. A wearables expert and current CEO at Digital Salutem, João has spent his career focused on transforming digital health.

João uses his podcast, “Digital Health & Wearables,” to influence social media and attract and energize audiences across the globe.

If you’d like to reach out João, he can be found on Twitter at @wearablesexpert or on LinkedIn @Joao Bocas

You're listening to health innovators, a podcast and video show about the leaders, influencers and early adopters who are shaping the future of healthcare. I'm your host, Dr Roxy Movie. Welcome back to the show health innovators. On today's episode I'm sitting down with Joo Focus, who is the CEO of digital saluteum and the number one digital health influencer. Welcome to the show. Hi Rosy. Thank you so much for every delighted to be so. Tell our audience a little bit about your background and what you've been up to these days. Yeah, sure, so. I'm a Portuguese national. Moved the UK in two thousand and one, nearly twenty one years ago. I have two passions, Really Sports and Elf, and I'm very privileged work nils and I've been involved in many things. My primary industry was professional sport many years ago, and the my transition to alf in them als in corporate wellness for a number of fee is. But the last fifteen years I've been working off get. In the last seven very focus on digital lfe innovation with technology and whereables. I have a strong focus on that. So things really evolved in on working globally really. So, when you think about the work that you're doing in Europe or in other places around the country versus the US, you know what's how would you kind of divide those percentages? Yeah, I would say half of my falling Roxie, because of the Internet, is actually us. And Yeah, so I'm based in UK but I have a very strong fallow in us. Also have some clients in us, in then central leader primarily. I also very good connections in Middle East in Asia, but I don't have a strong presence, to be honest. That would say probably fifty central Europe and us. Really okay. So when you think about the wearable market, how is it different? You know, so for someone like yourself that's involved in on a global scale, where are some of the different trends and wearables in the US market versus what's happening in other places? Well, very good question. I've done a lot of researcher on whereables and the European market is. The uptake is kind of strong. About one. I mean twenty five percent. Twenty twenty five percent of the adult population as a wearable or intended to have one in within the next six months. I don't have a lot of data in wearables in US marketing terms of the consumer adoption, but I believe to be very, very close. But my impression is that the US is slight in behind Europe in the adoption, even though the market is much, much bigger in terms of numbers and shipments of the large brands. But that's my but that's my impression. But the wear it both market is very vibrant right now because you have the wellness sign and also the wearables now starting to play a very crucial role in Elf get on a medical on a medical side, so in the are use for research and Farm A, getting human vital signs and biometric data. So the wearable's market is actually very, very exciting right now. So let's talk about that. Like what are wearables? And just to give a little bit of baseline on understanding, because you know, some people in the audience might know exactly what you're talking about and we might all interpret it in different ways. Right when we think about wearables, we often think about fitbits, we think about smart watches, but there's a lot more to it. So how would you define what is a wearable in some of these other tools that are happening in market place? Yeah, sure.

My understanding is that wearable is like anything that involves a piece of technology. At touched to it. Now and you mission really well about the association with Smart Watches and the fitness structors, because they the more traditional the wrist bands. I'm actually roxy from the Times that, yeah, I have an order ring and I have another word and my time, my office table is full of where. But to be honestand that yeah, we're will playground right kind of. We associate with the wrist bands and the apple wiches. I'm actually from the Times a long time ago, from the PODOMETERS. That was just a single digit or by be twenty years ago and was very revolutionary, like, Oh, let me see how many steps I have on my counter. But now, also, when it bose, are coming in many shapes and forms. I mean smart rings, they can I mean smart belts, smart shoes, and also a very hot topic and trend is smart clothing, because the senses now in the capability of whereables, the technology really can more or less go anywhere, anywhere. You can think of even some very well known glass manifest a smart glasses manufacturers. Now they having like technology embedded, which we can consider also where well, because the hearables now also, like anything you can imagine, is like he's like a where we really so would you say that remote patient monitoring is also tied to wearables? Yeah, also we in terms of medical devices. Yeah, where it was now are used very much to keep one eye on, let's say, patients well being and vital signs. Is a clear pushing the industry to go towards that direction, because then you can actually monitor people remotely at home or care homes, whatever, whatever they are, and that is very powerful because the wariables are actually gathering data and transmitting that data into the professionals or to the cares or to someone that as a relevant interesting that. So whatevers are very crucial right now. You know, it's funny because I think of wearables is, you know, often a very sexy buzz word, just like anovation or digital health or AI. Right, we kind of throw these terms along, but, you know, let's let's kind of just drill down into a little bit more of the adoption. What is the comparison between the sexy talk of these buzz words like wearables and innovation versus actually adoption, and maybe what that gap might look like? Hmm Well, very good, very very good question. In terms of the healthcare industry as such, I think we are actually at the very, very early stage. In terms of more defeatness and wellness industry is kind of very developed. If you see, for example, the Apple Watch is on the six version noise but like idre fibrillation, and they are really a medical device now. But they positioned them selves not as a medical device because they don't want to conflict with the medical sector, and we to do that. I mean one of the things that they should have considered these two have a service attached to that, because then they could, for example, offer the capability of the device but them the also the technical support in the human side of things, because now, okay, I get the my heart right or my alert on my watch and so wall. You know if I'm on my own on a mount and a knowledgeay on my bike or whatever that is.

But whereabeles no ISSY, they are evolving very, very fast and they are extremely intelligent in the capabilities. Are are very, very advanced. You see apple a mission upple than go on a mission out the other brands, but they all this progressing to the next thing. Now the for example, the smart ring or ring on a third generation. They got twenty four seven heart monitoring capabilities. So they very advanced, because technology is moving really fast. HMM. Yeah, definitely. And speaking of moving fast, you know. So from your perspective, how has the pandemic been a catalyst for wearable adoption or just digital health adoption in general? Well, I think is is a blessing disguise. I know a lot of people died around the world, unfortunately. But for digital health, I talk to a lot of stakeholders. We regards to tell a health telementsine, we will push to do things differently, digital, virtually, and in that regard it pushed the industry forward, forced us to behave in a different way. You could it couldn't access clinics and hospitals and even doctors. So we have to do everything online. With regards to whereables, I also seen trend of people know they really concerned about their health. They were before the pandemic, but the pandemic really just as reason this awareness that our most precious assets, our most helf health, is wealth, and we seen that we started to get concerned about our own health, about our families well being, and whereables are actually a really they not the magic thing to make you wealthy, but they are a very good partner if you use awareable in a nice way to gather your dieet and monitor also engage in some healthy behaviors. No whereables are very sophisticated capabilities about telling you remind as an alerts, about notifications. You should be moving, you should be stretching your legs. Sometimes I mean on my or ring up. It's very peculiar it. If you stand, for example, in a chair working for two or three hours, it gives you another saying should be stretching your legs, which is like what would think that? I mean ten years ago. Yeah, I mean you think about all the wearables, with the data that's being collected. You know, it kind of brings to light this quantified self, and when we have this heightened awareness about this, the performance of our bodies or performance of our health, I think that it does can trigger a change in behavior with this, you know, in being more empowered with this new knowledge that we have. Yeah, absolutely, what I've done many keynotes around the world around where bals, but I always remember these, one of them in loan and above the first one, and I repeat these often, the wearables are not the miracle. The human being is the most important elements in there, but the wearables use as used as a supporting, clever partner. They can be very powerful because you can compare even data from a month ago and say, actually, I lost a bit a while, my heart is getting a bit feet on. I you have all these things to establish comparisons with DIEA. You can get your sleep trucking in, you know, a days. You can say, actually, last night I only slept five hours, but I've been sleeping in an average of seven hours and nine. So you can actually do lots of different things. But what I like about whereables is I think everyone should think about engaging with whereables. All they...

...feel more comfortable, but pick one. Think they want to make a change. To start with, I'm I'm I'm a fan of fashion. I like Lords. Are like watches, but now is this very big trend about fashion tech. Yeah, nice swear, but they look good. They have different collars, different shots, which is fantastic. Different you know, you can go with your clothing, but what really sustained the long term engagement is your interest in a particular thing. For me, for example, a few years ago, was the steps and then I start doing triathlons in my forties. Use the performance with my running and my cycling. Now I'm interested in my data. I'm getting older. My interested changing. I'm interesting my sleep data. So you know, because I mean, as everybody know, sleeping is correlated with your performance, overall well being and also optimal function. So you know. But what what is important is for each of us are different. Yeah, you might be interested, for example, in losing wide. That's not my first priority, but we should engage. Read one thing that increasingly gives is the motivation to kind of keep going. Hey, it's Dr Roxy here with a quick break from the conversation. Are you trying to figure out what moves you need to make to survive and thrive in the new covid economy? I want every health innovator to find their most viable and profitable pivot strategy, which is why I created the covid proof your business pivot kit. The pivot kit is a step by step framework that helps you find your best pivot strategy. It walks you through six categories you need to examine for a three hundred and sixty degree view of your business. I call them the six critical pivot lenses. As you make your way through this comprehensive kit, you'll be armed with the tools, tips and strategies you need to make sure you can pivot with speed without missing out on critical details and opportunities. Learn more at legacy and DNACOM backslash kit. So let's talk about healthcare and the put the place of wearables and healthcare. Right as you're talking about, you know, Fashion Tech and consumer trends and tracking sleep and and so you kind of have like this convergence of the wellness side with the healthcare side. But I'm curious, from your perspective, like what's really happening in healthcare, or payers starting to pay for services around wearables? Are providers starting to prescribe some of this wearable tech to help with patients care journeys, or do we see more of this being driven by consumers and less about the healthcare industry itself and, you know, having to play catch up to where consumers are? Very good points that. I think the healthcare industry as a whole, and I'm every active in that regard, is not really taking the advantage of the wearable capabilities and the potential. Yeah, I think we are very early stages. I think is more driven by the consumer still, even though they are players, and insurers starting to move the needle, if you like, and I give you an example in Nyca is a very well known insurer. That is wellness program that they reward. They insurees with points and discounts. If you display Elf healthy behaviors, you go to the gym, get some points. You use an UPP get some points, you use a wearea will get some points, and that starts to be a trend. I'm actually surprised not many other insurers are following this model in many other players are not on board on rewarding people...

...for good behavior. Would behavior means healthy behavior. Healthy behavior means there will be a direct benefit for them in cost, clear return on investment. So but we moving in that direction in just a matter of is just a matter of time. But I think the market is now ready for us to really make this position and see everybody like moving in that direction and the competition is actually the competition. The market itself will ask everybody to move in a same direction. Yeah, so what is so? What are some of the obstacles and barriers for healthcare to take more advantage of of these tools out there, like you just described. There are many. I've done that one of the fifty nine pages report on Health Warebl Regiment seriously and we found us. We interview people about all the easier aware able face to face. From the user perspective. I'll give you a few insights. From the user perspective, we see the lack of motivation, sometimes very small and unbelievable barriers, like all, forgot to change my wearable. Okay, that's the basics. If you don't charge it, no buttery, no data or data, no benefit. The lack of support, lack of education, teaching people. I know the whereables come with a guarantee and the user guide, but also educate people about Elf anded. You get them out to make the most out of your were ble. I think that is still missing them from them, let's say the device related barriers in this case, to answer your question about the industry, interoperability still a very big barrier, communicating with other systems, getting the data, getting reliable data, because the wearabills present actually a very, very big challenge in terms of the screpancy with the data and the accuracy of the data. If you use Apple Watch and fit with, they will give you a different readings which might vary from it to ten percent. And give you an example, if you wake up in the morning and check your wearable right away, you have, for example, two under steps, but you only come out of bath, you only done maybe two steps. So leaus. They function by a celerometers and the senses. So the date is not totally totally upread, which presents a very difficult challenge for healthcare because if you talk about general wellness, okay, if I don't have a thousand steps, if I have a thousand and five hundred hook cares. But we talking about the medical side of things, heart right and vital signs, and if we consider, for example, a very particular condition and important condition, we can't really have very unreliable data. So the wreaser that that star, that the right reliability is extremely, extremely important. Then there are ethical issues, suspicious of, for example, sharing data for good purposes. Most people agree with that, but then what up? And if my data is just one where? Or is share with ensures, shared with farmer companies? Is All these like thin yeah, most like gorgeous some oreos tonight and then somebody knows about it. You know, free meet my health insurance premiums go up. Nobody. Was...

An exaggerated example, but you know, yeah, so it's lots of things to consider. There are some bars in the oalthcare system because the wearables are not are not. I think they will, but they're not fully integrated in, let's say, the patient flow and in the off care model as yet. Because it's also the barrier of the price. WHO PAYS FOR IT? Wherever's are not, even though the prices are going down, they're not very affordable to start with. So is a couple of hundred and there's always this question. I would love to turn the model upside down and give the reward and try to save weight around. There's always the initial cost of from which still represents a barrier, because in the ideal world everybody should have wearable and do something with it. You know. So. Yeah, so, as as a wearable expert and advocate around digital health, what are you doing to help break some of those barriers? Yeah, I'm shotting a lot of content and I'm I'm starting this conversations which take called us. I'm working with a few very large thick runs at the moment. Also, I started this podcasts similar to yours are ound base called digital health and what it will series. I interview bloblievers around the world to talk about lots of different challenges. You know of CA. So yeah, and I was doing the lots of pnotes around the world, around where it's pretty coverd. I've done lots of virtual and I'm starting to travel again. I was actually in Portugal last week delivery cannote for the very large pharmacity company, because the water balls now are part of the conversation because they not they cannot be left out any any longer because they part the important they play for sure role. So so you know, I think that you probably can appreciate this as a as a speaker, as a podcast host, you are most often then interviewing other people and giving them an opportunity to share their expertise in their stories. But I want to kind of ask you, since you're a guest here. Our community is all focused on healthcare innovation and from all different sectors. You know payers, providers, Farma, that the innovators themselves that are you know startups, as well as you know some of the more mature health plans and hospital systems. So very broad contacts, but what do we all need to know about whereables that maybe we don't already know? Hm, very good question. We need to know a couple of things. One, that they moving in terms of even innovation, extremely fast. We see these new versions of the Apple Wah ordering. Also, we need to know that for different purposes we do we need different warbles and obviously certified and ratified and and and sometimes, and this is my personal opinion, the whereables are bright, but they also got a lot of different data sets that sometimes are unnecessary for a certain purpose. For example, if you want to work on a card your vascular disease or particular research, you might need just two or three sets of data. But the wearables bring more data and that can be actually an advantage in certain guys, but is a big disadvantage because it's more data to deal with and necessary data, and also the that is not translated in information, which is one of the big challenges. In a few years ago we had a lot of a I could...

...abilities, artificial intelligence, we didn't have data. Now it's kind of starting to be the other way around. We have too much data and now the AI starting to get really, really great use. aftern a piece of a chapter for a book and the chapter was, in my opinion, the combination of wearables and artificial intelligence will beat the game change in Nolfcare and I think that is a very, very great combination and much necessary, because what we going to do with all these data? And then there are other things about, I know I'm not at a technical expert, but there are other things about making sure the integration is done. Probably the wearables. Reliability is extremely important. So work with reliable brand really I tested a lot of wearable froxy from India people and from from China. People send me a lot of stuff and I don't want to criticize anybody any everybody's trying to do their best, but there are a lot of unreliable wherevers that I would never use for any purpose because, yeah, because you can never wearable now in that's I c these in the shops now. It can have stuff from China for like ten or twenty bucks, but then they don't work. Then they don't want seriously. Now so much counterfeits and counter and yeah, so anyway, just be aware of that, because you can go on Internet and such. He looks like the same day apple watching. He's like a watable for twenty bucks and of course it's not. It's not great. Just telling me what I want to hear. Yeah, so we are even because if someone's shots on offer. But I know from the Alfcat Industry, which that we were talking about India. But then also represents the challenge of the price, because a good wearable equal would wearable or good medical device. But the cost is coming down and there are many innovators, such for example, a Lifecoord, that bring the cost of innovation really down. So I think is great news for for EALTHCARE. Sure. Yeah. So I want to wrap up here with one question around your legacy. I believe really strongly that a lot of the work that we're doing is shaping the legacy that we're leaving behind and I think it's such a altruistic initiative to try to have a mission and healthcare and really transform and change change the world of health. So when you think about how do you want to be remembered and what kind of legacy you want to leave in healthcare and maybe outside of healthcare, share that with us. How do you want to be remembered, Roxie? I never really thought about this, to be honest, and I have my own vision. I can say that I am vision that the weables can change the world, and I'm talking particularly off care, but even other industries. But I have a particular vision for Elf can and I'm working towards this, to make health care and complicated, to transcend the Barris of transcend the bodies to human else. We need to do a bit more and all of us in the industry need to educate the patients, need to break these barries of adoption, need to make the technology more easy to use. There are lots of different things and one thing that recently is it came out be self faquity. I mean you should go mean be on the same page. So, but I would love to be remembered. I would like to make a greater impact in world, you know, and I would like to do Mike an Impact stemp on Elf care and maybe even behind hmm. That's beautiful, isn't that what it's all about? Changing the world, liking our mark on the world, leaving it a better place.

Well, thank you so much for joining me today. How do folks get Ahold of you? If they want to follow up with you after the after the show, it can easily find one on social media. Very active, particularly on twitter and Linkedin. On twitter. The ASHTAG is at whereable's expart on twitter, on sorry, on Linkedin, just such my names your book, as you will find me awesome. Thank you so much for listening. I know you're busy working to bring your life changing innovation to market and I value your time and attention. To get the latest episodes on your mobile device, automatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyone who shared the show with friends and colleagues. See You on the next episode of Health Innovators.

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