The wearable health tech market is still young. New products are often developed and marketed by groups from universities, startups formed around a product idea, and companies with existing products branching out or adding to their lineups. Most health tech products, however, are standalones. While they connect via Bluetooth with smartphone apps, product functionality typically isn’t integrated with other devices. One notable exception is the BeWell Connect platform from Visiomed, an application that collects data from a range of individual health sensing and monitoring devices. Philips has launched its own connected health technology platform called, somewhat eponymously, Philips Personal Health Programs.
According to Philips, each year more than 275 million people are tracked with their patient monitors and the company’s activity programs have been used by more than 500,000 people. The Personal Health Programs platform doesn’t focus first on technology or on disease treatment or prevention, but takes the higher road of promoting better living by making small changes in daily living that lead to better health… using their devices and smartphone app, of course.
The goal of the Philips Personal Health Programs approach is to encourage people to start measuring, keep monitoring, and stay motivated. The company’s current measuring devices — each sold separately — include a smart scale, smart thermometer, two styles of blood pressure measurement devices, and a new Health Watch that continuously tracks the wearer’s heart rate. The iOS and Android smartphone app to which each of the devices connects lets the owner monitor progress and set personal goals, with instant feedback. The app also helps owners stay motivated. Philips say the app offers personalized coaching based on your stated goals and what it learns about your habits over time.
The success of the Philips Personal Health Programs platform will depend on consistent use, as is the case with all wearable health tech. So far the devices sold and supported address a general population. If the company adds devices with sensors for specific issues and conditions — blood glucose monitoring for diabetics would be a natural next product — addressing the market from both sides, general health and disease control, might strengthen the lineup and broaden its appeal.