James Kotecki (00:00): 

This is CES Tech Talk. I'm James Kotecki, bringing you a special conversation from day one at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. We're bringing you a high-powered media round table, sharing their media insights on digital health, here at the world's most powerful tech event. Listen up. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (00:28): 

Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us for the digital health media roundtable. I have with me today, John Lynn, Savannah Peterson, and Eric Wicklund. They are our digital health media experts, and we're really excited to talk to them today. Thank you guys for being here. If you could, maybe just go down the line and talk about your expertise and your outlets. 

John Lynn (00:50): 

Sure. So I'm John Lynn, the founder and chief editor at Healthcare IT Today. Healthcare It Today is a publication about 18 years old. We've published about 17,000 articles. I've written about half of them over that time period, but we also have three podcasts with 600 episodes. So it's like an afterthought that we have podcasts, that are all video and audio. But yeah, I've been doing it a long time. I'm techguy on Twitter, so I'm a former tech guy. Every day, I become more journalist and less tech guy, but I love writing about this stuff. So thanks. 

Savannah Peterson (01:21): 

Awesome. Hello, everyone. Who here is enjoying their CES so far? Let's get like a woo. It's 5:00 PM, let's get some energy. I almost just swore, and I just said I wouldn't. I'm going to keep that careful. My name's Savannah Peterson. I'm going to be the loudest person on this stage. And I am a host and analyst for theCUBE and SiliconANGLE Media, in addition to being an on-air personality for a variety of different events. And I run a technology community building consultancy called Savvy Millennial, where we help a lot of the products that you see on the show floor build their first thousand fans and tell their story. So I'm super thrilled to be here, have a lot of experience. I've been joking that I have receipts in AI for over eight years, which most of the armchair experts in this industry don't. So I'm really pumped to share, and most importantly, don't hesitate to indicate if you have questions or if you're curious about stuff. We're here for you, we're not here for us. Thanks for coming. 

Eric Wicklund (02:20): 

All right. Hello, everyone. My name's Eric Wicklund. I'm the senior editor for technology and innovation at HealthLeaders. I write about technology in the innovation space. We focus on how health systems and hospitals are using the technology, so I'm covering it from a little different angle. Instead of the consumer, I'm talking about the healthcare executive. I've been in this industry for about a couple of decades now. I used to write for MedTech and HIMSS Media and Xtelligent. I've been around a little bit covering the space. And I am truly a writer, not a speaker, and very much an introvert. So I'm going to be kind of hanging out in the back. 

Savannah Peterson (02:58): 

Me too. There's a reason they put us next to each other. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (03:02): 

It takes all kinds. Thank you all for being here. So day one CES, we're coming around the corner to the end of the day. There's been a lot. A lot of people maybe describe it to first time CES goers as drinking from a fire hose. There really is so much to see, and in past years, we've talked about how CES cuts across verticals. And every industry and every company is a tech company. This year, we've pivoted a little bit. Every company and every industry is an AI company, an industry. So I kind of wanted to kick it off with the hottest of the topics of this year and ask, we can go down the line or we can have a little conversation, but how do we think AI advancements are currently impacting the healthcare industry? And how are they going to, with machine learning algorithms, et cetera, as the technology evolves? 

Savannah Peterson (04:00): 

Go for it, John. You're giving me that look. I'll follow you. 

John Lynn (04:02): 

I can always talk, so I won't talk as loud as you, but maybe I'll talk as much as you. 

Savannah Peterson (04:06): 

No one should talk as loud as me. 

John Lynn (04:08): 

That's fine. No, I think AI is the most exciting thing that's happened since they gave $36 billion of stimulus money to healthcare organizations to implement technology. So it's going to change so many things that's happening. But I think what's interesting is that generative AI, unlike all those other things before, like blockchain and cryptocurrencies and other things like that, when you see AI, everyone that hears it says, "Oh, I can think of 10 different ways I could use that." Whereas the previous technologies, they're like, "Oh yeah, I kind of get where you're going." So that's what I love about AI and what it's done is that it's unleashed the creativity of every single healthcare technology company and even non-healthcare company to see how they can solve the minutiae, the boring, mundane tasks that doctors and nurses and patients have to deal with. 


So that's, to me, what's going to happen, and that's what we've seen from GenAI, when it comes to revolutionizing healthcare and taking away the minutiae that no one wants to do. So I think that's, to me, what's so exciting. I would take your comment one step further. Everyone said, "Oh, everyone in healthcare is now an AI company that's going to solve burnout, because everyone in healthcare is burnt out and we need to solve that." So regardless of what they're doing, they're applying AI to solve burnout. 

Savannah Peterson (05:41): 

I love that. Who in the audience is burned out? Anyone? 

John Lynn (05:45): 

[inaudible 00:05:45] in life is not burned out. 

Savannah Peterson (05:46): 

Starting the year a little rough. I'm a Washington fan. If you're a Washington fan, you're also feeling a little rough today. Yes. Go Huskies. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (05:46): 

Go Huskies. 

Savannah Peterson (05:53): 

I feel your pain. Physically feel it too today. The thing that really gets me excited about AI in this space, and I like that you just used that analogy of blockchain or NFTs, there was definitely the blockchain NFT CES two years ago, and I think I was joking that, this year, it's kind of, if you saw the episode of Portlandia, it's like the put a bird on it, but it's put AI on it. And everyone just, I'm one of the judges for the Innovation Awards at CES this year as well, and I did the Human Security for All category, which is really a broad snapshot of technology that's making the worlds good, and I can tell you there were a lot of false applications of AI. 


And so, what's excited me is I'm looking at the products and really the collaborations that are reaching the people in our lives, that are actually already impacting in the healthcare system, that are making healthcare more collaborative, that are making test results available, the second that they're available, not waiting for some system to pull, once a week, to filter through that data. They're looking to make their data more clean and better. And I think we will be able to predict and prevent the things that ail right now with much more accuracy, thanks to the machines, with a lot of the information that we already have. 


We're seeing the application and explosion happen here, because it's starting to touch our lives. But the reality is folks like me, and other fellow nerds who've been working in AI, have been working in AI for 10, 20, 30 years. So we're just finally getting to a point where the compute is at a point where it's fast enough and we can process things at speed, that will let us heal people quicker and cheaper and in a lot of different ways. So I'm looking forward to living longer and healthier lives as a result of AI. 

Eric Wicklund (07:43): 

Yeah, what we're seeing out here now is fantastic, and we're seeing a lot of hospitals and health systems right now use it for automating tasks, back office tasks, administrative tasks. The one concern right now is that we're, in some places, we're jumping a little bit ahead of the governance. 

Savannah Peterson (08:02): 

So glad you brought that up. It's like it just kind of sent a shiver down my spine a little bit too. 

John Lynn (08:07): 

You're not going to stop that though. It's going to happen. It doesn't matter what... 

Savannah Peterson (08:11): 

No, it's important, and I think it's vital. And healthcare is one of the most regulated industries when we think about the application of technology. So it's not only important, but healthcare is actually lagging behind other industries right now, in terms of their adoption, because of that. 

Eric Wicklund (08:24): 

Yeah, and it's going to be interesting to see who decides on the governance. Do we trust the government? Do we trust federal regulators to govern AI? 

Savannah Peterson (08:34): 

I do not trust the government with my body. 

Eric Wicklund (08:35): 

Are the health systems going to do it themselves though? Remember what happened with the HRs and the mess that happened, just the government rolling them out. Does healthcare want to see that happen again? 

Savannah Peterson (08:47): 


Eric Wicklund (08:48): 

No. And I think that's why we're going to see more active participation from larger health systems in developing standards, developing ethical uses of AI. That's such a crazy term, but I think that's what we're going to see. But here right now, we're seeing a lot of the potential for what this technology can do. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (09:11): 

And I think, like John said, it's really been able to unlock the creativity, and it will solve burnout. And that, I think, is an application of AI across industries. Gaming especially, because it's not going to replace the gaming designer. It's actually just going to give them the capacity to create an outline and then, perfect it using the tools they already use. 

Eric Wicklund (09:31): 

Yes. And it will not replace the nurse or the doctor. It's augmented. It's supposed to augment, not replace. 

Savannah Peterson (09:37): 

AI ain't going to take your job. It's just going to make it suck less. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (09:41): 

And circling back to you mentioned the Human Securities for All category, CTA actually, this year, was at UNGA, at the UN headquarters in New York, at a ceremony where we established that the eighth pillar of human securities would be technology. Because nowadays, it used to be something that, in Spanish, we say [foreign language 00:10:05], lux, like an additional, but nowadays, it is a necessity. It gives us access, it gives us information, and with health tech, it gives us metrics. It gives us all of these new tools, so that we have the capacity to monitor ourselves and our wellbeing and communicate with our clinicians, in ways that are much more efficient. So you're not reliant on office hours or modes of communication, that are slower snail mail, even email. It's just you have all of these tools for instant remote monitoring and telehealth, and I'm really excited to see where that goes. 

Savannah Peterson (10:41): 

I totally agree with you. I love that you brought that up. Any guesses as to the demographic that uses telehealth the most? 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (10:49): 

I actually don't know. 

Savannah Peterson (10:51): 

It's people who make less than $25,000 a year. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (10:55): 

I think we all thought it would be age-based. 

Savannah Peterson (10:57): 

Just let that sink in for a second. So we think about technology, and technology, I'm a product of the Silicon Valley in every sense of the word, and when we think of technology, we also think of privilege. And the people who create a lot of our technology and make those decisions are privileged. And we talk about tech for good, and that's why I wanted to be a part of the category. Thank you guys all for making that category. I was really pumped to see it and honored to be a part of it. And when we think about, everyone's always like, "Yeah, and this will make everything better for everyone," who can afford it, which is the part we always leave off. And especially with hardware, especially with things like this, that are super expensive when they're in an MVP stage, and when I was doing research for this panel, I was so pumped to see that. Because it shows me that we're getting access, that it's actually happening, that the things that we're doing here are impacting folks. And it's really rad. Just a little more data on that, because it's fun, the... 

Eric Wicklund (11:50): 

You have notes? You took notes? 

Savannah Peterson (11:52): 

I do, and analog notes. I'm not going to... 

Eric Wicklund (11:55): 

What's that thing? Is that called paper? 

Savannah Peterson (11:57): 

There's a pen up here. It's pretty crazy. I'm a different type of technologist. Yes. But I do have notes, because I like to at least have receipts for my data and not just pontificate, like most thought leaders. So the second highest use of telehealth is in the Black demographic, and then, also, the Medicare and Medicaid folks. So we're reaching people who are normally disenfranchised by the American healthcare system at a disproportionate rate through new technology. That stuff makes me proud of the work we do. I love hearing things like that. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (12:28): 

Agreed. And the CTA Foundation, I have some incredible colleagues, and some of you know them, Steve Ewell and Marie Tejero, who run the 501(c)(3), which is a CTA Foundation that supports startups and has a grant program for companies based on developing tech for accessibility specifically and making healthcare tech, accessibility tech, affordable. And it's in the name, accessible. 

John Lynn (12:58): 

Just think about transcription in general, when you talk about accessibility. If you can't read, if you can't hear, we're going to solve that. We've essentially solved that with generative AI in all of those solutions. And I actually think that's the most exciting part of what you described, the remote patient monitoring. We are going to send waves of data at our doctors and our nurses. And guess what they're going to do? Nothing. And I'm serious, they don't know what to do with it, right? When we send them all our Fitbit data, they said, "I don't know what to do with all of this." And now, we're going to send them all the ECG readings. I don't know if you saw the new monitors there. The video is actually going to capture all of our health information, and we're going to stream this wave of data at the doctors. 


And doctors are going to be like, "I don't get paid to analyze that." And so, what's going to be the solution for that? The solution is AI. It's going to be AI that goes through all of that data and make sense of it and says, "Here you go, doctor. Now, you have something useful." And so, before, we could have given them all the data in the world, but without the AI to analyze it and solve the problem of, "We have too much data. What do I even do with it?" then we wouldn't be helping doctors. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (14:20): 

And now that you say that, I'm thinking new job opportunities for analysts to help with that process. 

Savannah Peterson (14:25): 

Bingo. You're nailing it. That's exactly it. And there's going to be new founders. I think the other thing that really gets me excited, been having a lot of conversations, I've done over a hundred interviews with AI executives in the last couple of weeks, which is crazy on the brain, let me just tell you in an awesome way, one of the things that's been really interesting, especially at the enterprise level is the entrepreneurs are different with this class. And there's obviously the classic Silicon Valley vest-wearing boys, but there's also moms who can now do, with three people, what used to take engineering teams of 300, because of AI. You're able to put questions together and solve problems in ways that we haven't thought about before, because you can be looking at different parts of a data set at the same time and connecting those dots in ways that would take months or years previously. 


And so, we have folks who are able to solve really unique problems and connect over rare diseases and tackle them, because of this technology. So it's not just going to make our lives better. And there's obviously an ominous side of AI. We're all being very sunny right now, but it's not just going to be awesome, in terms of our consumer life, as users of healthcare and everything else. It's going to be absolutely magnificent to see the new entrepreneurs that come out of this class of folks as well and the problems they solve. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (15:45): 

Thank you, guys. Eric, any thoughts? 

Eric Wicklund (15:48): 

What they said. But yeah, you're taking services and tools out of the hospital, out of the doctor's office, out of the clinic, and into the home. And there's so much potential, there's so much promise there for reducing the amount of time you have to spend in a doctor's office or a hospital or a clinic and living your life at home and having healthcare services, health and wellness brought to you, connected with you, instead of you having to go access it somewhere else. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (16:20): 

Yeah, and I think we may have... Can anybody in the audience who is a media attendee raise their hand for us? Media attendees? We have a handful. Okay, I thought there would be more. Shout out. But we know that digital health may cut across verticals also in terms of, we'll see it in smart homes, smart cities. We'll see it in haptics and wearables. I actually saw a really interesting piece of tech at the swiss pavilion in Eureka Park today, that is a pair of wearable glasses that's almost like lane assist for the visually impaired. If I looked right here, nothing. And if I'm staring at John and there's an obstacle in front of me, it buzzes. So I thought that was a really interesting piece of tech. When you guys are walking the floor and looking to, I guess, curate your coverage, and this will also be useful information for our industry attendees, any hot tips as to where else to look, other than North Hall, where we would usually look? 

Eric Wicklund (17:19): 

Oh, geez, everywhere. Not just digital health over there. It's throughout every single hall here. You can walk into the home entertainment system and see some potential for healthcare applications. [inaudible 00:17:34] gaming is definitely, there's a potential there. Some of the smart vehicles coming out, the talk of apps within vehicles that can help when you're driving. There's so much out there. We're talking smart homes, indoors and outdoors. Everything here has a, we're getting to that point where everything here has a healthcare application, if you look close enough, and that's where a lot of the innovation is going to come from too, some new ideas. 

Savannah Peterson (18:07): 

I'd say, look at... Yeah, it's a great point. It's everywhere. Don't worry about seeing everything, first of all. It's physically impossible to see everything, but do make sure that you get a little bit of everything if you can. Because this is the largest show in the world. This is where everyone comes to show off their MVP, and you will be really pleasantly surprised. I would say also look at what people are wearing. People are wearing prototypes. People are wearing show cars. Check out their wristwatches. Check out, people with their badge turned around are probably a buyer or somebody important. Listen to the hallway conversations. It's not just what's going on on the floor. 


And especially here in the convention center, my favorite part is actually in Eureka Park and over in the startup pavilion, where all the international startups are, you can see companies from every single country in the world here, and it's incredibly special. This is, for them, their show. This could be the entire marketing budget goes into getting their smart kitty litter product on the show floor here, so that people can see it. I saw that launch a couple years ago, and now, everyone has them. It's sweet. And it's fun, because you'll be surprised and delighted about the tech that you bump into. Go to some parties, have fun, hydrate, drink 10x the water you think you need to drink right now. 

John Lynn (19:27): 

Vegas is dry. Drink. 

Savannah Peterson (19:29): 

Well, that [inaudible 00:19:33]. 

John Lynn (19:32): 

Different ways, but no, so I love Eureka Park too. That's what I would've said, but I actually, I love the other comment. Because I was thinking of a story, the founder of Atari, yeah, I don't know if you know, he's also the founder of another company. And the way he created his second company was he's founder of Atari, big into video games. He goes to this engineering conference, and he sees these pneumatic pistons. And he's like, "Oh, I think I could use those." And what does he take those pneumatic pistons? He takes those, and he creates what we now know as Chuck E. Cheese. He uses the pneumatic pistons from a conference he went to, that had nothing to do with his industry, and now, he created Chuck E. Cheese, where he could put his video games. So there's all sorts of those types of things that happen, whether it's in Eureka Park or whether it's in another area where you just discover something. 


And I like to say that my favorite things to look for is where people take innovations from all throughout, and they package them together in a really amazing way. We've seen that in healthcare, with Ambient Clinical Voice. Ambient Clinical Voice is the evolution of like 10 different technologies, starting with voice recognition, natural language processing, the fact that each of us has a cell phone with a microphone in our pocket, so that then they can record the sound, et cetera, et cetera. And they packaged it together. If you don't know Ambient Clinical Voice, it's essentially the doctor going in, clicking record, and then, just seeing the patient. 


That's right. The doctor actually listens to you and talks to you, rather than types on the computer, right? This is crazy to think about. And then, they walk out of the room, and the note's done for them. That's what Ambient Clinical Voice is. And what's amazing about it is it's packaging 10, 15, 20 different technologies into one. That's what the iPhone did. That was the original packager, if you look at it. It just packaged a bunch of other technologies. And that's what we need in healthcare is to package all these different things into a solution that the doctor can use. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (21:33): 

Thank you very much for that. 

Savannah Peterson (21:35): 

And everyone in your wellness journey too. I think it's going to be great, because it's collaborative care. There's no reason that my acupuncturist or my trainer couldn't see things going on with my blood work or whatever else going on, and my orthopedic... Right now, it's so siloed. And what I think is most compelling about the least sexy part of business right now, which is technology silos, is that AI is actually going to fix that. It's going to help with that, and we'll get the right data when we need it, so that we can have the most informed decisions about every aspect of our health, which is awesome. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (22:10): 

Yeah, I think centralizing the information that we get is going to be, I think, the next step of all the data that's going to be incoming. But I actually was just thinking about everything we're talking about, and we're talking about all of this software, all these intangible elements of the technology. And this year, I just think technologies that we were maybe not paying as much attention to, in terms of wearables, because they were either clunky or inefficient, are now getting so much more streamlined and so much less intrusive. 


So the haptics I was talking about earlier, or EssilorLuxottica, if you guys have heard about them, they have, this is for the hearing impaired, but they are solving what they're calling the cocktail party problem. So they are a pair of glasses that you, in a crowded environment, can turn to the person you're talking to, and it's going to amplify just that person in, I think, a 20 degree angle for you. And I think wearables are coming back, I think, because they're so much more streamlined and convenient than they were in years past. 

Savannah Peterson (23:19): 

And they're going to do more. I think we've thought about it as a... Wearables got their start in fitness and smartwatch. And one of the, I'm so excited to finally be able to talk about this now, one of the contestants and one of the honorees this year in our category was Eclypia, and they are a needleless glucose monitor. How many of you have someone in your life who has diabetes or has glucose issues? Most of us. It's one of the most prolific health problems that we don't solve effectively, frankly, and especially with a lot of income disparity. So I was really excited when I saw that entry, and I am thrilled they're on the show floor. I get to have lunch with them tomorrow, and I am totally nerding out about it. And I bet they're nervous to talk to me. 


I'm like, "No, no, I just want to see it. This is so cool. I'm so proud of you." They use some quantum laser technology. It's just rad. With a company like that, who knows, I'm speculating, but whether they become a wearable themselves or if somebody, like Apple, then adopts that technology and puts it into the most popular wearable on the planet, then we have a really interesting new solution for people who have this condition that could just be baked in. And that's cool. It's bringing the healthcare to you, to your earlier point. 

Eric Wicklund (24:32): 

It's the idea of care everywhere again, and chronic care management is such a big issue right now. It's not only diabetes, and I have a son who is diabetic, so I know all about that. Cardiac care, COPD, asthma, everything, the number of people that are diagnosed are skyrocketing. And wearables offer an opportunity to monitor them and manage care for them around the clock, really. 

John Lynn (25:01): 

See, I'd say more than wearables for me, although they're great. At least the smartwatch finally has 30 days from Withings, right? But I actually like the invisibles, like neurologics, that's all it's doing is you're sitting in front of a camera, which by the way, we do all day pretty much, and it could analyze all your vital signs, right? I love that invisible. I love all the vision stuff that's happening at home for a senior person, that is just watching them. It's watching their movement, it's watching their health, it's interacting with them. It's notifying their caregiver, and it's totally invisible to them. They don't have to feel like, "I'm an old person, because I'm wearing the I've fallen and I can't get up." 

Savannah Peterson (25:37): 

Exactly. It's such a good point. 

John Lynn (25:38): 

Beautiful when it's invisible. 

Savannah Peterson (25:39): 

Such a good point, John. Yeah, I think it'll be less invasive and more intuitive, because the other thing too has been the lack of user interface and good user experience with a lot of stuff. Just coming back with the diabetes thing, a lot of the guys in the space have hacked their own stuff. Literally, the guys at Bigfoot Biomedical had to literally hack their own bodies to figure out how to develop some of these products. That is wild. And we don't have to do that kind of grotesque and crude style of medicine anymore, if we have these devices to help us out and little tiny robots to go sew us up inside our bodies, whenever we need. 

Grace Venes-Escaffi (26:18): 

That's a very good point, and actually, we've had so much fun on stage that we went over time, so I would like to thank everybody for sitting in our panel session. And let's give a hand for our lovely speakers. 

James Kotecki (26:32): 

Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation from CES 2024. That's our show for now, but there's always more tech to talk about. So hit that YouTube subscribe button, leave a comment, follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartMedia or wherever you're getting this show, and get more CES at CES.tech. That's C-E-S dot T-E-C-H. I'm James Kotecki talking tech on CES Tech Talk.