Defining the future of medical wearables

Finpro helps Finnish companies go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes travel to Finland. Finpro is a public organization consisting of Export FinlandVisit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro almost 300 professionals work in 36 Trade Centers in 31 countries and 6 offices in Finland. Finpro Team Finland invited Annina Verkkomäki to the “Your Future in Wearables” 2015  event to share our research titled ‘Consumer at the Center, Consumer and Adjacent Industries Influence to Medical Wearables’.

As always with our line of work, we started our work with 30 days of emerging into different areas to educate first ourselves to the latest of the medical field, how the scene has changed, what type of expectations there are from the ‘consumer patient’ and most importantly what is the framework of the laws and regulations that dictate the field that influence the design. The topic of the event was mainly for the Finnish market but we decided from the very beginning that it was business relevant for the audience to hear about the China market information and thus we made that the focus of the research. Healthcare is behind other industries when it comes being consumer oriented. The health issues are very complex: they are rooted in the poverty, rooted in the education or lack of of it and there is a lot of gender issues. To solve these diverse issues there is a need for diverse talents and multidisciplinary teams. Changing conventions is the keyword when it comes to the outlook of the medical devices.


The audience was asked the question: ‘Think for a second that you have a disability or sickness – would you want to showcase that?’ As an example hearing aids product development focus has been largely transforming the outlook from ‘disabled’ to ‘stylish and customizable’. The devices need to showcase identity instead of disability, making the user look good and look healthy, to be less about the disability or sickness and more about the personality, borrowing the approach from fashion. What can we see happening in the healthcare and medical industry is borrowing the familiar design language from consumer electronics to make recognizable forms and user experience. User centric product design principle: having health problems causes stress. We as designers, engineers, scientists, medical professionals have the ability to relieve that by discreet and familiar products and services. Patients are acting more like consumers, they are more informed about their health and want to talk as peers to their doctors or advisors about their condition. Brands are positioning their products for the empowered consumer, not patient. You can watch the event