Health monitoring: making sense of sensors – event summary

The healthcare industry is bracing itself for disruption from the exponential growth from the wearable devices market. The 'Health monitoring: making sense of sensors' event at Swiss Re's Centre for Global Dialogue brought experts to discuss how to mitigate these risks.

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"I think these events are useful because this is a new field, and we think also going into new fields and exchanging ideas together is a good way to prepare for the future.

Sensors have a tremendous opportunity for the future and will be a part of our lives, and I think Swiss Re has a tremendous amount of wisdom of connecting those dots early in a format like this. The event is a phenomenal event. I think it was well planned, very well done by the team at Swiss Re. I think that for multiple angles, whether you're a physician, an entrepreneur, an insurer, a medical device provider; you're seeing presentations from different aspects of the industry, and sensors really do matter.

Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges that we face today. We now have a real-time window into how patient's glucose is behaving and it's great for us to understand more about the solutions that Dexcom can provide to insurers as a really important part of the healthcare system.

The work I've done with wearables to date in these large typically financial services organizations is essentially around ill-health. Organizations are super interested in this to ensure that there's a sustainability around their employee group and that they can continue to perform at the highest possible level. It says a lot about Swiss Re, the fact that here's a reinsurance organization that doesn't ultimately have direct relationships with consumers, and yet they're really interested in this space. I didn't realize just how deeply there's investment in these early stage organizations around wearable sensing technologies. It's very rare so that these things, you know people would come together to access them all under one roof, so it's huge value for those people who are in attendance today.

Facial analytics is really just a way of independently verifying smoking status and body mass index. In the future it will be used to detect disease. It's extraordinarily exciting to be involved in disrupting an entire industry using a technology that was never originally intended for this purpose. We've repurposed it and now it looks as though it's going to alter the way in which an entire industry operates.

Sharecare is a health and wellness engagement platform largely based in the US. This event has been really valuable to me personally and to our organization. It's a really diverse group of individuals, both globally diverse, but even the perspectives that come to the table from device manufacturers to much more of a clinical perspective, to those who represent data and analytics, and those who represent more of the ecosystem that brings those things together.

A app that's been out first is myCOPD which helps patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The benefits to the insurance industry are obvious, it's where the insurers actually give the power to the patients to look after their health and well-being, hopefully keeping them fitter, healthier, stronger for longer and reducing mortality."