Trendspotting: CES 2018

I’d like to take an intermission from our posts on Clinical Communication & Collaboration and provide some trend-spotting on technology. I’ve been writing a technology blog separate from Mobile Heartbeat for some time ─ it’s actually a hobby of mine ─ and the inspiration for most of the articles stems from my visits to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January of each year. I just returned from my annual foray into this jungle of cutting-edge tech and thought I might share some observations. The event each year gets even larger, so I’ve really had to focus my efforts on what I find intriguing. So, in no order of importance…

Self-Driving Automobiles

To be fair, I thought that self-driving cars were more likely to be found on an episode of The Jetsons than in real life. This was my biggest “Aha” moment at CES. Not only is the technology that powers these vehicles advancing at light speed, but every technology company (really!) is rushing to get involved. Not only were all of the automobile manufacturers present with their latest self-driving offerings, but the ecosystem of supporting technology vendors (mapping, decision systems, etc.) was evident as well. If you’re a follower of the strategy guru, Michael E. Porter, you will recognize this remarkable “five forces analysis” now beginning to bear down on the automotive industry via this new technology. Namely:

  • Threat of substitute technology (rendering older vehicle technology obsolete).
  • Threat of New Entrants (as seen by the technology-driven start-ups in self-driving car technology displayed at CES).
  • Industry rivalry (this goes without saying for the automotive market).

Looking at these three forces and how they are impacting this  market means that we will see great upheaval – and big winners and losers – over the next few years.  I think that we will need a comprehensive scoreboard to keep track.

Personal Wellness

Frankly, I’ve grown bored looking at all of the “wearables” ranging from “smart clothing” to sports-specific fitness trackers. Honestly, do you really need a fitness tracker to monitor your curling performance? What did catch my eye, however, is the number of firms present at CES who were showing off new “sleep technology.” Apparently, we are a society that does not get near-enough rest, since the booths for these products were busy every day. I was skeptical but, being a technologist, I had to sign up for a trial of a few of them. I hooked up to some electrodes, put on headphones and then reclined with the pre-conceived notion that “this couldn’t really work.” The proposition was that, in 20 minutes, my mind would experience the equivalent of a two-hour nap. I’m the biggest skeptic when it comes to these types of claims and when, after twenty minutes, I emerged feeling like I do on  a Saturday watching golf on TV, I was impressed. I’m now attempting to get this vendor to send me a sample to “test.”

Televisions – Can they get any larger?

Finally, no write-up about CES would be complete without mentioning the latest and greatest in TV technology. CES is the show where every major television vendor goes over the top. Five years ago, it was all about 3-D technology. Unfortunately, the 3-D content for viewing was so scarce and poorly produced that the push for 3-D TV is now officially passé. I noticed zero vendors trumpeting their 3-D monitors. What I did observe, however, is OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology that was truly awesome. With its extremely high contrast and deep black levels, the OLED TVs were stunning. Since I watch a significant amount of televised sports (no comments, please), an 80” OLED screen for watching the Pats in the upcoming Super Bowl would look great in our family room.

I hope that you enjoyed a bit of technology trend-spotting from CES 2018. Now it’s time to get back to my day job at Mobile Heartbeat and get ready for HIMSS18, where, as a manufacturer of CC&C software, I’m on the other side of the trade show experience.

CC&C: 2017 Review – 2018 Preview: Scaling the Pyramid

It’s a frosty 7 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now, but thankfully we’re nearing the end of this first (and very lengthy) cold snap.  That means two things; 1) winter has really arrived in New England, 2) it’s time to review 2017 and look into the crystal ball for 2018.

What happened in the Clinical Communications & Collaboration (CC&C) market in 2017? It was the year of enterprise adoption. Hospitals that began their deployment of smartphones and CC&C software realized significant value by focusing on widespread adoption throughout the enterprise. This breakthrough was driven by going beyond the traditional clinical user base and  enabling the remainder of the hospital staff to participate in the CC&C ecosystem. From pharmacy staff to dieticians, our team at Mobile Heartbeat collaborated with our clients’ users to enable broad, widespread adoption. We helped our clients quantify this success through measuring Monthly Active Users (MAU). More than simply measuring the number of user accounts, MAU measures how many unique individuals in your healthcare system conducted a high-value communication each month. Your MAU should consistently increase and when it does, you reap additional network benefits (see previous post on Metcalfe’s Law).

The broad adoption in 2017 matches our view of mobility and CC&C ─ which is all about the Value Hierarchy. As customers deploy smartphones and CC&C software, they begin to climb the pyramid, seeing each new level bring significant additional benefit. In effect, 2017 saw the leading hospitals focus on the first level of the pyramid – Adoption – and the results were staggering. The average Mobile Heartbeat facility has over 800 MAUs with our largest systems (9 facilities) recently crossing the 11,000 MAU threshold.

This takes us to what we see in the 2018 crystal ball. It does not take great foresight to predict that these leading hospitals will now put effort into the second level of the pyramid – Optimizing Workflows. They will begin to measure “who is communicating with whom,” “how often” and “at what times.” This data will then be used to understand the interaction within workflows and the required communication. These insights will then be applied to optimize the critical workflows, saving previous time while improving patient care. In essence, our clients will be taking their first steps in implementing “lean thinking” for their critical workflows.

At Mobile Heartbeat, we are ready to support our clients’ journeys as they scale the value pyramid in 2018. For new adopters of CC&C, our Project Managers and Solutions Engineers will assist you in achieving adoption as you deploy a mobility system in your organization. For those clients who are aiming to improve workflows, our Clinical Services group will apply their Informatics knowledge and experience to your specific challenges.

We’ll make this official at Mobile Heartbeat by naming 2018 as The Year of the Workflow. Characterized by improved efficiency, improved responsiveness to patients and higher quality patient care, The Year of the Workflow will be memorable.