The Week in Disruption goes beyond the headlines to uncover the significance of emerging trends in healthcare and beyond.
On your left: scooters take off
In the last few years, electric scooters have become a familiar, if not universally welcome, sight on the sidewalks of U.S. cities, moving quickly from a novelty to a legitimate option for getting around.
Electric scooters overtook docked bicycles as the most popular mode of shared transportation outside of cars and public transit in 2018, with 38.5 million rides, the National Association of Transportation Officials reported last week. What’s more, 36 percent of users would have taken a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft—both of which now offer scooters on their apps—if the devices weren’t available, according to a survey commissioned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. And even cities like Chicago and Milwaukee that don’t currently allow dockless scooters are considering easing restrictions or allowing pilot programs.
In addition to putting ride-hailing services and bike shares on notice, the scooter boom must surely further trouble car manufacturers who are already facing a generational shift in transportation preferences. Only a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, down from half in 1983.
Retailers target telehealth
Retailers intent on expanding their healthcare services are looking beyond on-site clinics with a series of new telehealth products that can be used from the comfort of one’s couch. Best Buy’s new TytoHome product will allow users to take their temperature and perform respiratory recordings and throat scans, before sending them electronically to a clinician. The device, which is enabled by a mobile application, is retailing for $299 in a handful of states; related telehealth visits cost $59. Target, meanwhile, has begun selling at-home test kits for Lyme disease, fertility, menopause, and some sexually transmitted diseases.
The power of a friendly font
Gaining the trust of potential customers is a top-of-mind challenge for any business. And for technology companies intent on gaining a foothold in healthcare, making a personable first impression is especially important. A Business Insider writer noticed that nascent healthcare companies Oscar, OneMedical and Flatiron Health all use the Serif font style—noted for tiny strokes off its letters—in their marketing materials, while avoiding more streamlined fonts. "Especially in health tech, you need to appear really warm, trustworthy, and mature," Jaime Lopez, head of brand at Flatiron Health, said.
Innovation at a glance
- Physicians will be able to track the vital signs of chronically ill patients from afar, after a wearable device previously used in hospitals was approved for home monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are planning a voluntary, risk-based primary care initiative, with hopes that a quarter of all beneficiaries will opt in when pilots begin in 2020