The Future of Personal Wellness Innovation

Empowering individuals with the tools to improve their well-being offers a chance to create a more proactive and wholistic care approach outside of traditional care settings. This can be critical to broader healthcare as well, as research has shown well-being can be a predictive indicator of high-risk for emergency room admission[1]. Digital tools can also assist patients, as their care environment may be limited by provider shortages and availability[2] or the distance to medical services[3]. We see the rise of well-being platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), and tools for patient engagement as an exciting pathway to improve patient care through innovative solutions.

What is Personal Wellness?

Personal wellness is defined as an individual’s wholistic well-being, including but not limited to emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical health[4]. Recently, there has been a growing focus on the importance of personal wellness. This is due in part to the increasing social awareness of the impacts of preventive action and the rising costs of healthcare. As such, people are more interested in taking control of, and advocating for, their own health and well-being.

The solutions that address personal wellness are constantly evolving. As technology advances, new and innovative solutions will be developed to help people improve their health and well-being. Current solutions addressing personal wellness have primarily focused on the mental and physical health of individuals and can be placed into 3 categories: wearables & monitors, care ownership, and care access.

Wearables & Monitors for Tracking Personal Wellness

Wearables & monitors cover a broad set of devices that can help quantify physical and mental health values. Some examples include smart watches and scales for fitness assessment, smart beds for more accurate sleep tracking, and even smart toilet sensors that can measure hydration and nutrition[5]. Wearables are popular in the US, where approximately 40% of Americans reported owning wearables according to Statista[6], with 57% Millennials and 70% of Gen Z reporting regularly wearing them[7].

Further innovation in this space could be utilizing artificial intelligence for proactive intervention based on data trends. For example, maybe your data indicates that your sleep had been disrupted for multiple days, and suggests some potential solutions, which may include darker shades or reducing screen time at night? Or maybe your smart toilet discovers abnormal or high-risk samples and suggests seeing a care provider? Additionally, new sensors or solutions may be developed to track more well-being associated health metrics, creating a rise in new wearable use cases and applications. Recently, Apple announced tools for Vision health, which may be able to better understand an individual’s risk for Myopia[8], providing an example of new applications and areas that are being developed.

Care Ownership for Control of Personal Wellness

Many of those wearables and monitors are a part of platform ecosystems that can be used to store, collect, and share data with accepted parties. Additionally, regulations such as the HI-TECH Act in the US better enables patients to own their medical records[9], giving individuals more access and control to their health data. This ownership can empower users to view, monitor, and track progress towards well-being goals based on their interests. One example is MyFitnessPal integrating data from multiple wearables into a personalized health dashboard as well as acting as a log for nutritional data. This collective data can then be used to work toward user fitness goals with a broader picture in mind.

Innovation in this category could be a seamless method to transfer data instantly to certified professionals while also helping interpret results more quickly. What if you could send your logged notes to a nutritionist ahead of an appointment for a more meaningful discussion? What if a high-level analysis, benchmarking, and recommendation could also be automatically generated for next steps to save both the user and specialist time? Further integration with sensors can also be used to generate a more wholistic profile for people to help personalize their goals.

Care Access for Unity in Personal Wellness

Services such as Talkspace, Maven, and Hims have made digitally connecting with certified specialists much easier and faster for a more wholistic wellness approach. These virtual services can mitigate travelling barriers for patients who otherwise may not have been sought after or been able to access support. This is evident when nearly four in ten Americans have used telehealth services to meet with a medical or mental health professional according to the American Psychiatric Association[10].

Currently, solutions tend to focus on specialties such as mental health or nutrition. In the future, more comprehensive platforms or partnerships could form where users could access multiple specialty areas or only select areas they are interested in utilizing. A key consideration for care access innovation though is who pays for such a service. Many current solutions are sold to employers as an employee benefit, so an individual’s access to comprehensive wellness professional would be restricted to their organization’s willingness to elect for these services. A separate direct-to-consumer option like BetterHelp would increase access to all consumers, although unsubsidized high costs may also impact user access. Offering a combination of business models may be the ideal situation and flexibility in how users can access reduces the impacts of specific barriers.

What’s Next in Personal Wellness

Consolidation and integration within each field may occur as solutions in each category continue to develop. This may look like a unified platform that identifies an abnormality with a sensor, which prompts an individual to send their data to a specialist integrated into their network and simultaneously scheduling an appointment. Proactive and preventative care allows providers to treat patients more efficiently, while also prioritizing care patients are seeking.

Additional frontiers in personal well-being could be emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and leveraging the role of local communities. VR, for example, can be used to support individuals in managing their pain and anxiety. Community resources and engagement, meanwhile, can foster an accountable system that can play a vital role in personal wellness. Creating a strong community that emphasizes personal well-being will allow individuals to connect with others who share similar goals and challenges, leading to support and encouragement from their community members.

11TEN’s Role in Personal Wellness

The future of personal wellness is exciting! With new solutions and technologies continuously emerging, people will have access to select the right tools and solutions to improve their personal health and well-being. The 11TEN team is enthusiastic about personal wellness and has experience connecting our ecosystem to solutions that help patients at the individual level. The 11TEN Innovation Lab features several personal wellness solutions from healthcare start-ups, and we encourage professionals to schedule time to explore the options. If you are interested in learning more about how personal wellness might be applicable to your organization or accessing our in-Lab solutions – Contact our team today!

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