a glimpse at your food future via Nestle…

A kit for Nestle Japan’s nutritional drink. Photographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg

Nestle is taking an innovative approach to product development, starting with the Japan market.

According to Quartz News – “Some 100,000 people are taking part in a company program there that gives consumers a kit to collect their DNA at home. The program also encourages them to use an app to post pictures of what they’re eating. Nestlé then recommends dietary changes and supplies specialized supplements that can be sprinkled on or mixed into a variety of food products, including teas.”

Ultimately, the goal for Nestle actually goes beyond this, to creating completely individualized products based on individuals’ DNA that could even be designed to prevent serious diseases like cancer. Quartz’s crude example is “Pizzas that can ward off Alzheimer’s disease, for instance”.

One nutritional scientist says, “This is going to be the manifestation of the future. The one-size-fits-all platform is a thing of the past.”

Why it’s hot:

First, as the largest food company in the world, Nestle could be leading the way into a new era of food production – one that’s almost completely the opposite of its heritage over the last few decades. But most importantly, it’s another example of the shift we’re finally seeing from mass production to ultra-personalized products. While using DNA as the mechanism is not without concerns, what better experience than having food and supplements created for you based on what your body needs to keep you at peak health.

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stay perfectly hydrated with gatorade gx…

Gatorade introduced a prototype product it’s calling “Gatorade Gx”. It’s a combination of a patch you wear while working out, training, or whatever you call your physical/athletic activity, and a connected water bottle. It basically monitors how you’re sweating as you train, “capturing fluid, electrolyte, and sodium loss”.  Based on this, it lets you know when you should drink more, and if what you should drink is something specific based on your unique needs. That something specific being a “Pod” that has certain formula of electrolytes or nutrients you are losing as you sweat (your “electrolyte and carbohydrate needs”).

Why it’s hot:

As we see more uses of technologies like AI, biometrics, and connected sensors, products and services are becoming ultra personal. This is a personal hydration coach, filling a knowledge gap that otherwise only cues from your body might indicate you need. We should be keeping an eye on how brands are taking the old idea of “personalization” to its truest form, creating new ways to give them more than just a basic product or service.

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Dr. AI Helps Patients Gain Access to Clinical Expertise About Their Condition

According to an article from Access AI, HealthTap is introducing an artificial intelligence engine to triage cases automatically. Doctor A.I., is a personal AI-powered physician that provides patient with doctor recommended insights.

More than a billion people search the web for health information each year, with approximately 10 billion symptom related searches on Google alone. While many resources provide useful information, web search results can only provide content semantically related to symptoms. The new function from HealthTap aims to incorporate context and clinical expertise of doctors who have helped triage hundreds of millions of patients worldwide to provide the most effective course of treatment. Dr.A.I. uses HealthTap’s Health Operating System to analyse user’s current symptoms and cross checks this with the data provided from the personal health record they have created. Based on solutions that it has uncovered from its data, Dr.A.I. will tailor pathways ranging from suggesting the patient reads relevant doctor insights and content, to connecting the patient with a doctor for a live virtual consult, or from scheduling an in-person office visit with the right specialist, all the way to directing the patient to more urgent care, based on the patient’s symptoms and characteristics.

Why It’s Hot

At first glance, the apps looks like WebMD. Patients input their symptoms using a visual interface and the app spits back a diagnosis. Where this app differs though in the level of personalized recommendations that follow the diagnosis.

Through our SENSE and Journey Mapping work across our pharma clients, we know that patients are consulting Dr. Google both before and after they are diagnosed with a condition and prescribed a treatment where they are exposed to virtually limitless information about the condition and drug they’ve been prescribed from all kinds of sources, whether they have clinical expertise or not. In some severe cases, this can even stop patients from filling that prescription and taking the drug do to fear of side effects, intimating costs of the drug/lack of coverage, anxiety around administering the drug and on top of all that, apprehension that this is the correct treatment for them. Dr. AI has the potential circumvent a lot of that behavior by providing clinical expertise about the condition using the same deductive approach as HCP’s in a patient-focused interface.

Headphones Up, Calories Down…


(start at 0:23, you can get the basic idea by about 0:45)

I think we can all agree that sugar is evil. Particularly in this country, sugar consumption has become a major source of serious weight and health issues plaguing many. And as our esteemed colleagues Karan and Liz shared with me yesterday, apparently even when you try other sweeteners to avoid it, the alternative is cancer. So, how can we get our sweet fix without risking some massive health related life event?

Rest easy, because based on University of Oxford research, Xin Cafe in China has created “Sonic Sweetener”. According to science, listening to certain sounds makes our brain think what we’re consuming is sweeter than it actually is. So, Xin Cafe worked with sound designers to create a cup with a headphone jack that plays the right notes while you’re drinking your beverage to make it seem as though you’re imbibing something sweet when you’re actually not (try out the miracle soundtrack for yourself here).

Why it’s hot

First of all, I’m impressed at such a seemingly lo-fi “tech” solution to a very serious, widespread problem. Sometimes it doesn’t take a massive innovation to meaningfully change the way we experience things in life. And obviously it’s one of the latest examples in what will be many many years of technology (some more progressive, some less) filling in the gaps where our humanity can fail us. Self-control is a great quality, but not one that’s always easily applied. What other human shortcomings could sound (or any other) technology help us with?

Interoperability? THE weak link in the ever-changing healthcare system.

HS Why connected health 10.15

In a recent article in Medical Economics, Edward Gold, MD, makes a compelling argument and call-to-action on one of the most complex demands of the Affordable Care Act: Interoperability. A topic with enormous impact, but little discussed.

Simply put it means every Electronic Health Record, every doctor’s office, every surgery center, every patient App, all have to be sharing data and centralizing it for the better care and healthier outcomes for patients. Cost control is a big part of this, too. But the bottom line is cost control comes from coordinated, proactive care and an engaged patient. What is difficult is that so much venture money and rush to install non-compatible systems have been done over the past 5 years and wasted billions of dollars. As Dr. gold puts it: “I don’t think we’re more interoperable than we were three or four years ago,” he says. He still can’t exchange secure messages with most other doctors, he notes, and a local health information exchange (HIE) initiative has come to naught so far.

HS Interoperabiloity 10.15 cost issues

A 2014 study published in Health Affairs found that health information exchange was still quite low, despite the rapid increase in the percentages of providers who had adopted EHRs. Only 14% of physicians, for example, shared information with providers outside their organizations in 2014. There are more reasons for this problem than can be counted — half are just sheer human stupidity, poor User Experience and resistance to change, half are that the government was slow to set standards.

Why is this hot? First, because the ACA demands it and the health economics will not show efficiencies and savings without it. Next, comes the patient/doctor relationship; within a year, doctors will be paid for emailing not seeing patients; but if you had a surgery at one hospital, are at home being monitored, and your doctor is in a private practice, as of now, you are afloat in the world of disconnected data. No one is really watching out for you. Email or visit, no one professional is seeing your entire picture.

Many experts say this will work its way out. But will it? Some systems are light years ahead of others; it is almost as if a digital caste system of have and have-nots is being created due to lack of interoperability. We all need to be our advocates for ourselves, parents, children and ask ALL your healthcare providers: how connected are you?