Q&A Mobile device role in healthcare not wearing out

Hall 5 - MWC Stage B

Today at 13:15-14:15

Eliott Jones

CEO and Co-founder,



How is wearable technology transforming the healthcare industry?


The promise of wearables and the data they generate is finally being realised in the evolution curve of connected technologies, which is not only enabling but driving a deep transformation in the healthcare industry.

The first wave of wearables solved the portability and data capture problem, but it failed to yield meaningful, actionable information. Most of those devices ended up in drawers somewhere due to lack of durable value.

Today is another story due to the convergence of improved hardware and software sensing technologies, data infrastructure and interoperability. We can now receive, process, share and make meaning of the data in a way that improves the care regimen. This connected EHR/EMR and telehealth network infrastructure, the clinical protocols and doctor/patient interaction models, and building robust data standards like FHIR are finally maturing in such a way that they can effectively integrate wearable data for more effective and lower cost care.

Apps are also enabling smartphones to act as sensors which capture health data without an accessory on your wrist. The combination of connected and better sensing-enabled devices allows data to be captured directly from patients, opening the door to a new dynamic in distributed healthcare and a much more participatory engagement between the patient and doctor.

Wearables now are part of a larger system: healthcare is now a platform rather than a disconnected landscape of isolated devices and data.


How accessible are these innovations to the average user from a price perspective?


Today we are used to paying $15 per month for streaming media and $300 for a pair of headphones. Wearable devices fit clearly into this range of cost consideration, whether the price includes low-cost hardware, subscriptions or a combination of both.

There are powerful value cases for many players in the healthcare delivery chain, from telehealth providers and digital health data hubs to pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers, smartphone manufacturers, benefits providers and many others. It makes sense for them to reduce the cost to the patient to enable better self-monitoring because the cost savings or the value created far outweighs the device or related services fees. Ultimately, it’s not so much about the cost but the value created, whether in terms of perceived value to the patient or the healthcare system, and it should be both when wearables are involved because the patient has to buy into their part in actually using the device.

At Biospectal, we are focused on developing non-invasive software driven solutions for measuring vital signs in the smartphones people already own and other optical computing devices designed to be easy to use.

We measure vital signs through a finger placed on an optical sensor to measure blood flow, with algorithms converting this information into physiological measurements.

Biospectal is also measuring blood pressure through smartphone cameras as part of efforts to tackle Hypertension, a chronic condition affecting 1.4 billion people globally. The goal is to extend the capability to all devices where there is an ability to improve access and ease of use for patients and clinicians.


What are the challenges to advancing wearables in healthcare?


The biggest challenge is still pretty simple, making them easy, useful and able to provide value for effort for the user. The greatest technology can die on the vine if the burden for the patient is too high for the reward they get.

Early wearables were too fussy, hard to keep charges, ugly and didn’t provide enduring value to the user.

In terms of accessory wearables like rings, watches and wristbands, the technology in them is amazing, but you still encounter aesthetic rejection, where one style never fits all because people see them as an element of self-expression.

The tech needs to become more invisible and portable.