Microsoft, Digital Health Summit Laud Body Sensors, Bionic Hands

Partnering with Microsoft, the Digital Health Summit called attention to consumer innovations such as robotic limbs and smart pills as some of the "game-changing" innovations in health care.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a Digital Health Summit event highlighted some innovative "game changers" poised to change elder care, implants and medication management.

Organizing the Jan. 7 Digital Health Summit were Jill Gilbert, a product strategist and co-founder of elder care resource Gilbert Guide, as well as veteran technology editor Robin Raskin, who founded Living in Digital Times, a firm that produced many events at CES, including Last Gadget Standing and the Fitness Tech Summit. Linda Nessim-Rubin, a partner in Living in Digital Times, also headed up the event.

Amid the bright lights and hoopla at CES every year, Gilbert brought in Microsoft as a leader in the technology space to help introduce the innovations in digital health.

"We realized that there's some sense of 'flashiness' to our show, and yet I had a huge responsibility to make sure that it maintained health respectability within the industry," Gilbert told eWEEK. "So it made sense to have Microsoft partner with us and also make sure these technologies were in the room."

Randy Fusco, Microsoft's chief technology officer for Health & Life Sciences for Providers, moderated the health care "game changers" session.

"New technology advancements, including cloud computing, personal health devices, touch-screen consumer electronics and those highlighted here today are all poised to dramatically change the HIT landscape in 2011 and beyond," Fusco said in a statement.

Gilbert discussed with eWEEK some of this year's game-changing technologies in digital health, several of which were geared toward helping groups such as the elderly stay safe at home and improving quality of life.


Healthsense is a company focused on technology for the aging. It offers a secure standards-based WiFi platform called eNeighbor for responding to a family member's personal emergencies and tracking a person's activities. It can be used in the home or in a health care facility.

WiFi pendants, pull cords and call buttons alert nurses in the event of an emergency. Meanwhile, the Healthsense Web portal allows health professionals or caregivers to access patient information, protected by 128-bit SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.

The portal supports text-to-speech functionality and allows caregivers to create patient reports and compile data on call pendant usage and response times. They can also configure reminders to check on the patient.

"It not only helps caregivers track activities of daily living, but also monitor safety," Gilbert said. "It's a great development in aging and place technology."