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Think different about your health and wearables

Posted by Noric Dilanchian | 12 October 2018 | News & Events

Few have made me think more differently about business than Steve Blank. Blank is a big picture thinker. His latest blog post is on health applications for Apple’s Watch Series 4 and wearable devices. It put a wider frame around my own current work related to health.

Blank’s post is titled The Apple Watch – Tipping Point Time for Healthcare. He makes a big call about health and technology: “In a few years, home and outpatient diagnostics will be performed by wearable consumer devices.”

Steve Jobs returned to in Apple in 1997 and approved the “Think Different” advertising slogan. Today, 21 years later, Blank tells us Apple’s Watch 4 leads in sophisticated electronics.

Smartwatches are the apex of the most sophisticated electronics on the planet. And the Apple Watch is the most complex of them all. Packed inside a 40mm wide, 10 mm deep package is a 64-bit computer, 16gbytes of memory, Wi-Fi, NFC, cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, and an ECG sensor – displaying it all on a 448 by 368 OLED display.. And the Apple Watch is the most complex of them all. Packed inside a 40mm wide, 10 mm deep package is a 64-bit computer, 16gbytes of memory, Wi-Fi, NFC, cellular, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, and an ECG sensor – displaying it all on a 448 by 368 OLED display.”

The launch of the Watch 4 in September 2018 is a lightbulb moment for Blank. He sees the application of wearables in monitoring and diasnostics for:

  • sleep apnea,
  • pulse oximetry,
  • respiration,
  • blood pressure, and
  • Parkinson’s Disease.

Why listen to Blank?

I have a personal reason why I listen to Blank. My epiphany came in 2013 on reading Blank’s co-authored book with Bob Dorf, The Startup Owners Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company. It’s one of the most useful books I’ve ever read. I’ve subsequently followed his blog and his Twitter feed which has 244,000 followers.

On reading The Startup Owners Manual I came to understand why I was not successful in my first attempt at creating an online contract drafting tool designed for lawyers and other contract drafters. I now recommend his book to digital start-up clients.

What’s special about Blank is that he blends these ingredients:

  • experience from a background of running numerous technology businesses in the United States,
  • an ability to tell stories with a purpose, while sharing learning with humility, and
  • text with practical visualisations, eg the Business Model Canvas which shapes The Startup Owners Manual.

Lean methodology for digital media start-ups is Blank’s forte. I say that having myself written over 500 blog posts since 2006 on business model innovation, technology commercialisation, entrepreneurship, IT, and intellectual property. In refreshing that portfolio to upload it onto this Nexus Lawyers website many of my edits will integrate learning from Blank.

Diagnostic for avoiding wills and estates litigation

 On thinking about Blank’s latest post I realised that the healthcare functionality of wearables such as the Apple Watch 4 are relevant to work within Nexus Lawyers.

First consider the context. We seek to proactively avoid or minimise litigation over wills and estates. It is the most common type of dispute dealt with by the Supreme Court of NSW. Members of families, de facto partners and others arguing in court is more than just a legal risk for individuals, families and their estates.

How does the Watch 4 connect with reducing litigation over wills and estates? Here’s the connection. What often brings a claimant to court are facts and arguments that a will or estate management decision maker was affected by  diminished capacity or was unduly influenced. Due to this, the argument runs, unlawful decisions have been or are being made affecting the claimant’s entitlement.

By helping our clients make informed decisions our lawyers and allied professionals can avoid or minimise this type of potentially wasteful and very damaging litigation.

For this purpose the Private Client Services division of Nexus Lawyers, led by Michael Perkins, is curating authorship of multi-disciplinary health and disability diagnostics. This is about methodology, not software and hardware. Reminder: the Greek word tekhnologia means “systematic treatment”, from tekhnē  (meaning art, craft) and -logia  denotes a subject of study or interest.

Our market-leading work links into the Supported Decision Making initiative of the Public Guardian in New South Wales and other jurisdictions in Australia. To preserve client wealth and avoid a range of legal, social and commercial issues, the Private Client Services division:

  1. Advises clients on preparing for and dealing with the consequences of client disability or incapacity.
  2. Conducts diagnosis to assess the risk of client diminished capacity and undue influence (see accompanying graphic*).
  3. Develops methodologies to assess  diminished capacity, recognising it is not only a function of age. It can be influenced too by stress, education, addiction and psychological issues.

Health and legal advice on technology

More broadly, Blank’s article on the Watch 4 puts a spotlight onto the growing topic of health technology, a field in which Australia has a considerable depth of expertise and track record. My own legal work for significant businesses in healthcare has included a dentist’s invention for sleep apnea, licensing medical device software, commercialisation of a doctor network system, and IP advice for the Watson Approach for migraine relief.

As Blank notes, health is globally a multi-trillion-dollar sector. It is the biggest cost for governments of many advanced economies. It is the biggest “industry” by expenditure in the United States. The Venture Scanner graphic below lists some 966 health technology companies it was monitoring in 2017.

Turn now to read The Apple Watch – Tipping Point Time for Healthcare – https://steveblank.com/2018/09/26/the-apple-watch-tipping-point-time-for-healthcare/

* CREDIT: The above graphic titled “Diminished Capacity and Undue Influence” is by Dr Jane Lonie, Clinical Neuropsychologist of Wellview Consulting – www.wellview.com.au

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