Hospital Leaders Recommend Consumer-Centric Health Products They Find Most Beneficial

As they continue to advance in healthcare, retail and technology companies have introduced a slew of consumer-centric healthcare products to the market. Below, six hospital leaders talk about some of their favorite products and why they might recommend them to patients:

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity and style.

Tom Andriola. Vice Chancellor of Computing and Data at the University of California, Irvine. I will classify them into three categories: consumer health devices, consumer medical devices and smartphone applications. The combination of these three areas personally gives me a formula for being a health consumer and managing my personal health journey. I’m a big 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 due to its smaller, less intrusive placement. However, devices such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, and WHOOP have very similar functions.

For consumer medical devices, I have several inexpensive consumer-grade devices that anyone can buy at your local pharmacy, like a smart scale or a blood pressure cuff.

For apps, all of these devices are now connected to apps that are loaded onto your smartphone and can be integrated into an overall digital health twin concept for personal health management. I also include apps that provide data on nutritional intake and mind-body connection. My digital health twin is a data set that I control, which is extremely accessible and provides me with daily data that I can track very easily. This is complementary to doctor visits and health checkups; this data is less accurate but much more frequent, allowing me (and my doctor) to see much more subtle changes in my health and giving me a sense of control over my health journey.

Daniel Durand, MD. Clinical Director at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore). I am an avid supporter and user of exercise equipment, wearables, and “connected” platforms that use both to provide consumers with a playful, metrics-driven, and ultimately more engaging approach to exercise. .

Obesity is the root of much of the ills of the American population, from diabetes and heart disease to musculoskeletal problems to rising cancer rates. Diet and exercise are currently the best tools we have to fight obesity. While there are clearly risks and issues that need to be addressed (Peloton’s treadmill recall comes to mind), the equipment that makes exercise more appealing and accessible for home consumers is a huge problem for the long-term health of the population.

Zafar Chaudry, MD Senior Vice President and CIO at Seattle Children’s. The cost of prescription drugs 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 real-time discount prices for prescription drugs and tells you where to get the lowest price, whether you have or not health insurance coverage. In many cases, it beats drug co-pay for people with health insurance. Knowing the actual discounted cost of drugs is extremely helpful in helping people manage their healthcare expenses.

Kate Pierce. CIO and Head of Information Security at North Country Hospital (Newport, Vermont). 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. Gone are the days of writing down passwords on sticky notes or in a paper notebook, and so are the days of easy-to-guess or repeat passwords. We are now in a time where we need to be aware of the risks that technology presents and take proactive steps to secure our own health information. The first step is to secure your keys!

Lee Carmen. CIO at the University of Iowa Health Care (Iowa City). We recommend fitness trackers to interested consumers to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. These devices cost less, are easy to use, 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, SC). Digital therapeutics targeting the “science of happiness” are transforming the health product distribution market in particular. Simple yet entertaining mental entertainment like games, exercises, and daily tips keep consumers engaged without feeling like they just left the doctor’s office. When people feel better on the inside, we create a better, healthier world.

Maria J. Book