My colleagues Alessia Stewart, Paul-Julien Giraud, and I embarked on a journey two months ago to understand how connected devices can support the delivery of healthcare. We thought connected devices could inform diagnoses, monitor patients, ensure compliance of treatment plans, and assist with clinical trials. While we’re building a body of research, we’ve decided to share a few things along the way.

The potential for technology to help consumers exists, but connected devices face tremendous headwinds before they will impact healthcare and wellness at scale. Clear and identified headwinds include:

  1. Cost of the devices
  2. Usability (i.e., can consumers collect data doctors will trust?)*
  3. Consumer motivation (today, healthy athletes own the majority of smart watches — see report)
  4. Doctors’ interest and ability to use the data as well as concerns about liability
  5. Reimbursement models*
  6. Healthcare task flows (i.e., how to embed the devices, data, or insights into processes)*
  7. Accessibility (i.e., can those most in need use the devices easily?)

We’re speaking to entrepreneurs and established telehealth services that are tackling these headwinds to change how healthcare is delivered. We’ll share what we can as we learn.

(* the biggest usability issues that Current Health tackles)

Company: Current Health


Current Health is a remote monitoring platform that aims to accelerate patient discharge from the hospital, reduce initial hospitalization rates, and improve outcomes with fully customizable care models for individuals with chronic conditions or those needing transitional care. Current Health patients are passively monitored all day with a device worn on the upper arm with a band (to hide under a shirt) that tracks respiration rate, oxygen saturation, mobility, pulse rate, and body temperature. Current Health’s wearable has a 50-hour battery life and ICU-level accuracy to ensure that providers can trust the data being collected from patients’ homes.

What has Current Health done to improve usability?

Current Health checks a number of usability boxes. They include:

  • 50 hours of battery life to limit charging frequency
  • The device ships with a preconfigured tablet with a built-in cellular radio in case the patient or consumer does not have home broadband. By providing a Wi-Fi-emitting device, Current Health makes its remote monitoring program accessible to the 10% of US adults who don’t use the internet, including 27% of adults over 65 and 15% of people who live in rural areas.
  • The service includes daily task lists and notifications to nudge patients to take action. Current Health supplements the technology with phone calls as needed.
  • The healthcare provider gives the patient a kit or arranges for one to be sent.

What makes Current Health interesting?

The list is long, but here are a few initial thoughts:

  1. Smart computer scientists are designing algorithms to develop insights from the data. They don’t just pass through data — they pass through insights and alert healthcare staff when they need to take action. They separate the signals from the noise.
  2. Current Health offers the actual healthcare service, so its solution does not depend on changing existing task flows within healthcare systems. It sends insights through alerts to its around-the-clock nursing team to triage situations before escalating to the healthcare provider if needed. Outside of emergency situations, providers can access a dashboard that groups all their patients by risk and includes additional details like the patient’s doctor and battery level for their device.
  3. Current Health is making money today — and more in the US than in its home country of Scotland.