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CES Makes a Healthcare Splash

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, January 15, 2013

Tuckson is a man possessed by the mission of getting sedentary America out of its easy chairs—and away from the big-screen home entertainment systems the consumer electronic industry puts out in ever-increasing numbers.

I tried to make sense of how this consumer electronics inflection point is affecting healthcare. Late in the week, it hit me, while I was talking to a marketing blogger (a veteran of the Seattle grunge scene who used to let the band Nirvana practice in her basement after they got famous).

The business of leadership, of getting people to change, is the business of storytelling. Tuckson and other leaders of his caliber are shaping the stories that will persuade people to take care of their health, even when some part of them is resisting.

It's the kind of dynamic that turns an inane viral video like PSY's "Gangnam Style" into an enticement to exercise, via a game like Nintendo's "Just Dance 4," where the app store features this song and daughters beg their fathers to download the song, and then work out to it for hours.

Health has to become a lot more fun, and technology is making it happen. One of the most popular workout apps for mobile phones last year was called "Zombies, Run!" If you don't run—really run—zombies in the game catch you (and eat your brains, no doubt). Yes, it's ridiculous, but like PSY's song, it changes behavior.

There was much talk at the Digital Health Summit about wiring all these innovations together, in a long chain that connects patients, providers, payers, public health officials, and research. Such wiring has only just begun, and will take some years. But it's coming.

Then there's the cutting edge, and boy, are there some wild things going on right now at that front.

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