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The Apple Watch has been the dominant smart watch and it has driven itself and all competitors into health monitoring. Apple is a luxury brand and they command premium prices, allowing them to put a lot into their watches. Personally I like the idea of wearables. I’ve used several and they’re not perfect but they’re getting better quickly. Google’s recent purchase of Fitbit is driving innovation through competition.
Fitbit started as the value and fitness watch that is moving into the smartwatch arena. What’s the difference between a smartwatch and a fitness watch? Smartwatch is about moving functionality from your phone to your wrist. It requires connectedness, compatibility and watch-like abilities (tell time, date, etc.). While a fitness watch is about monitoring your exercise: how far, how hard a workout, how much movement, which typically puts the time as an afterthought. It’s now all blurring together.
Watches are using many new and sophisticated measuring systems and then using AI-like monitoring to flag issues. There is a lot of opportunity in healthcare monitoring. We have never been able to see lots of people’s vitals across long periods and in their normal life activities. The prices are dropping quickly to the point where you can get a basic heart rate monitor and activity tracker for less than $75 that is cloud connected.

I see Remote Patient Monitoring benefiting greatly from this because it is simply the easiest tool for compliance. Just put on a watch and it goes. The limiting factor with elderly patients is that the best devices only last between 5-10 days on a single charge. So the challenging part is the maintenance of the device. This is where the RPM service teams can come into play. Physicians will have access to much more accurate data from their patients, and older patients can be more closely monitored. This improves outcomes and it reduces costs by intervening before critical events occur.

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Don Wickelgren
Don Wicklegren is Xilium's founder. He is a technologist by profession who started his career pre-internet in remote medical technology and learning. He has worked in both small and large corporations with world-wide remote staff and became a part of the team who developed the first commercial internet. As an entrepreneur, he started his first technology company in 2001. In Xilium, he focuses on innovating solutions for the US healthcare system.
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