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Report: Making medical technology consumer-friendly will drive wellness market


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Cambridge Consultants on Thursday released a report outlining how the health-and-wellness market may take shape as more consumer-friendly medical devices featuring the latest in technology reach the market.

“Disruption in this market will come from medical firms moving from 10-year product lifecycles and confronting the 18-month lifecycles of the consumer world, and from consumer companies adapting to the rigorous processes demanded by medical regulations,” stated Duncan Smith, head of product development at Cambridge Consultants.

“The market is not yet mature enough to see examples of successful business models over the long-term, but there are incredible opportunities for companies able to capitalize on the vast amount of health information already available, consolidating it into personalized recommendations, just as Google has come to drive what we see and even purchase online,” Smith added.

The report explores two key points of view around successful revenue models. First, that profit will be driven by reimbursement for solutions demonstrating a reduction in healthcare costs. Second, that success will lie in directly targeting consumers and engaging them in improving their own health and well-being. Both views come together around the prediction that health care will become increasingly personalized, moving away from treatment to lifestyle management.

According to the report, titled "The Business of Health & Wellness: Engaging Consumers and Making Money," healthcare spending predominantly is driven by such life events as birth, starting a family, retirement and illness. At these points, consumers’ motivations and discretionary spending habits change, and healthcare payers are highly motivated to reduce cost at these peak times. Products and services with proven benefits will appeal to both consumers — particularly if the benefits are apparent in the short-term — and healthcare payers, who will see these confirmed solutions as worthwhile investments.

“Across consumer groups, turning data into meaningful information will be the real key to winning in this new space," Smith said. “Engagement on many levels, from individual apps to social networks, will set the scene for the next dominant name in the industry to trawl health data and use it to help people live healthier lives. This will be encapsulated in ‘virtual Mom’ services, which will predict outcomes and advise users on positive actions.”

Consumer education also is cited in the report as a critical driver in this new market, and real moms are the likely keys to companies’ success. Women with families and discretionary budgets are open to investing in their families’ health and well-being, making them enticing targets for many potential products, as well as market advocates with a strong network effect.

Cambridge Consultant will present findings in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, the company announced.


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