Jack Health Blog
January 26th, 2023 By Jamey Hardesty
“As you walk the halls, you begin to remember what we’re capable of as humans: autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, feeding the world, and a health care system that isn’t built on sickness. The opportunity for healthcare brands is to embrace CES as the place to show that they see it too.”
“Something, something, CES isn’t for healthcare brands.” Let me stop you right there because boy, has CES evolved. Digital Health has its own track this year and executive leaders, CEOs, and Chief Medical Officers from big names like Moderna, Abbott, Google, and UnitedHealthcare are walking the halls, weighing in on how tech is changing the way we look at the future of healthcare delivery.
My first trip to CES was full of intimate panels with industry leaders, product unveils, and big announcements. What I walked away with was the realization that big tech and healthcare delivery companies will be inseparable moving forward if we’re going to build the equitable healthcare platforms and systems of the future.
My top 5 takeaways from CES 2023:
- We’re ready to be together again. With over 115,000 attendees, 2023 nearly tripled last year’s numbers. Questions about the long-term role of a show like CES and brand investment in it were squashed. I expect next year we’ll see even greater numbers and even more healthcare brands weighing in.
- The digital health sessions surpassed my expectations. There are few places to intimately hear leading healthcare experts, ranging from Samsung to Abbott, lay out the not so small role technology will continue to play in healthcare. They prompted tons of interesting conversation across the show, especially around the role AI will play in aggregating and synthesizing large sets of patient data to improve care.
- BioPharma brands leaned into their evolution. Abbott and Moderna both played visible roles. Moderna sponsored the digital health expo and their CEO, Stéphane Bancel, spoke about cancer vaccines. Abbott had an impressive expo space focused on at-home testing offerings. Both brands emphasized their evolution and capabilities beyond COVID. CES is a great venue to broaden the reach for healthcare brands with great technologies – even pharmaceutical ones!
- There were lots of health and wellness products at CES, but there weren’t a lot of great health brand experiences at CES. Certainly, this isn’t unexpected at CES, and I’d be the first to say the Withing’s at-home urine lab is awesome. However, the lack of great experiences presents an opportunity for healthcare and wellness brands to stand out and grab news headlines by showing up in different and unexpected ways.
- Expo spaces can be platforms to increase awareness and demonstrate commitment. AARP, announced the AgeTech Collaborative, which is aimed at finding ways to live better, more productive lives in our older years and tackling conditions associated with aging, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One thing they did better than anyone was collaboration. They used their expo space as a platform for smaller organizations and leaned into building awareness by partnering with Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren in their efforts to tackle dementia. The opportunity to demonstrate partnership and collaboration, and even commitment to health equity, by providing shared spaces will serve to shift brand stories and experiences from being attribute and product-led to purpose- and benefit-led. That’s the conversation we should be having at CES around health and wellness.
One more thing: No one would fault a healthcare company for writing off CES. After all, CES falls just ahead of the JP Morgan Healthcare conference and Davos. However, with each passing year, the differences between how consumer brands and healthcare brands act is converging. People no longer see their health care as a disparate part of their life, it’s become part of creating and designing the person they want to be. We experience life, and our health is the ultimate determinant of that experience. The role of health, and even the definition of what health is, will only continue to grow and evolve at CES, and I can’t wait to see the many public-private partnerships and collaborations that make the future of healthcare possible.
With my first CES in the books, I see it as the perfect opportunity for healthcare brands to show that we want to be a part of building a shared and connected future. Health and wellness are very much at the core of this emerging new way of living and working. There will be other shows and events to drive sales and fill up the funnel, but CES is about a vision, a statement, a desire to say we value that you, as consumers, want to be part of this future. As you walk the halls, you begin to remember what we’re capable of as humans: autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, feeding the world, and a health care system that isn’t built on sickness. The opportunity for healthcare brands is to embrace CES as the place to show that they see it too.