Hospital execs recommend the consumer-centric health products they find most beneficial

As they continue their push into healthcare, retail and tech companies have introduced a slew of consumer-centric health products into the market. Below, six hospital executives talks about some of their favorite products and why they might recommend them to patients:

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

Tom Andriola. Vice Chancellor of IT and data at University of California Irvine. I will put them into three categories: consumer health devices, consumer medical devices, and apps on the smartphone. The combination of these three areas give me personally a formula for being a health consumer and managing my personal health journey. I am a huge believer in using data to effectively manage and drive behavior, so for me that translates into a personal interest in managing my health through lots of data.

For consumer health devices, I personally use an Oura ring because of its smaller and less intrusive placing. However, devices such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit and WHOOP do very similar functions.

For consumer medical devices, there are several low-cost, consumer-grade devices that I own and anyone can pick up at your local drugstore such as a smart scale or a blood pressure cuff. 

For apps, all these devices are now connected with apps that are loaded on your smartphone and that can be integrated into an overall digital health twin concept for personal health management. I also include apps that provide data for nutritional intake and mind-body connection. My digital health twin is a dataset that I control, is extremely accessible, and provides me daily inputs that I can trend very easily. This is complementary to doctor visits and checkups; this data is lower-fidelity but much higher frequency, which allows me (and my doctor) to observe much more subtle changes in my health condition and provides me a sense of control in my health journey.

Daniel Durand, MD. Chief Clinical Officer at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore). I'm a proponent and an avid user of "connected" exercise equipment, wearables, and platforms that make use of both to bring consumers a gamified, metric-driven, and ultimately more engaging approach to exercise.  

Obesity is the root cause of so much of what ails the U.S. population, from diabetes and heart to disease to musculoskeletal issues to increased cancer rates. Diet and exercise are currently the best tools we have for addressing obesity. While there are clearly some risks and issues that need to be worked out (Peloton’s treadmill recall comes to mind), equipment that makes exercise more appealing and more accessible for consumers within their homes is a huge deal for population health in the long run.

Zafar Chaudry, MD. Senior Vice President & CIO at Seattle Children's. The cost of prescription medication varies depending on whether you have decent health insurance coverage or are paying out of pocket. I would recommend GoodRx, which is a website and mobile app (both for Apple and Android) that finds discounted real-time prices for prescription drugs, and tells you where to get the lowest price, whether you have health insurance cover or not. In many cases it beats the drug co-pay cost for individuals with health insurance. Knowing the actual discounted cost of medications is extremely useful in helping people manage their healthcare spending.

Kate Pierce. CIO and chief information security officer at North Country Hospital (Newport, Vt.). One product that I highly recommend to everyone is to acquire a password vault to store their passwords securely.  Passwords are the keys to your information. The days of writing passwords on sticky notes or in a paper notebook are gone, along with the days of easily guessable or repeat passwords.  We are now in a time where we need to be mindful of the risks that technology presents, and take proactive steps to secure our own health information. Step one is to secure your keys!

Lee Carmen. CIO at University of Iowa Health Care (Iowa City). We recommend fitness trackers to interested consumers to assist with their health and wellness goals. These devices are decreasing in cost, are easy to operate, encourage movement at regular intervals, and can provide insight into heart rate, sleep and stress patterns. Many of the most popular products can also easily share fitness data with their healthcare providers when needed.

Amelia Bischoff Gainey. Director of Digital Health Services at Prisma Health (Greenville, S.C.). Digital therapeutics targeting the "science of happiness" are notably transforming the health retail market. Simple yet entertaining mental diversions like games, exercises and daily tips keep consumers engaged without feeling like they just left the doctor’s office. When people feel better from the inside out, we create a better, healthier world. 

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