In this article, 2023 Awards Advisory Board member Ryan House offers product manager perspectives on the life sciences industry. House is the Director of Product for Pulse PEMF, a cutting-edge electromagnetic therapy product. Keep an eye on the life sciences vertical at the 2023 Product Awards. Send Awards nominations to [email protected].
The Life Science vertical is exciting and growing with innovative companies and technology. What is Life Science? Life Science consists of organizations that center their work around research and development focusing on living things (animals, plants, and humans). Some industries include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food processing, biomedical technologies, and other products that improve the lives of organisms.
I was introduced to this vertical a little over 4 years ago and it has become a passion of mine. It has been incredible to learn about technology in the “biohacking” space such as red light therapy, cryotherapy, infrared saunas, and with the products I work with daily, PEMF (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field). In the paragraphs below, I will highlight some key trends in this exciting technology industry (wearables, personalized treatments and programs, and community).
Wearables: Home Healthcare
Wearables as a Trend
Wearable technology has significantly grown over the last few years and is expected to hit a $186.14 billion valuation worldwide by 2030. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of consumers who buy wearables purchase with the intent of health and fitness monitoring. For product managers and companies in the Life Science, this is a great opportunity.
Wearables Changing an Industry
Traditionally, for medical devices and healthcare companies, patients and customers would physically see a doctor and receive treatment via the device at the professional’s location. With the advancement in wearable technology, professionals are now sending patients home with devices. In many cases, users can buy the device online or have the product shipped without even having to see the professional. The products are now more mobile because they are wearables and not bulky stationary devices.
It is estimated that in 2023, wearable technology will now be able to diagnose certain diseases through data collection and analyzed by machine learning and artificial intelligence technology. This can lead to catching diseases earlier, applying a treatment plan sooner, and adjusting the treatment plan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, users were using their smartwatches to monitor their oxygen levels, blood pressure, and more. As wearable technology continues to advance, more limitations will be removed and more customer needs or problems can be addressed and tracked. Speaking of tracking, this leads to another important trend: personalized treatments and programs.
Personalized Treatments & Programs
With the advances in AI and machine learning, companies are beginning to recommend treatments and can adjust the treatment by following the data collected from the wearable or the manual input from the user. Professionals can also adjust a patient’s medication or dosage through the data. This allows for course correction which helps increase the probability of a successful outcome for the user.
Treatments and programs by AI and machine learning solutions allow companies to set expectations. For example, some “biohacking” products have potentially unpleasant, but perfectly natural side effects. In the biohacking space this is considered a normal part of the body’s process of detoxification (toxins leaving your body). By tracking the user’s sessions, the professional or user can adjust their program. For the user, this provides transparency and the comfort that detoxification is normal. This has been harder to show in the past.
I experienced this first hand using Zero’s fasting app. In the app, you track how you are feeling using emojis as you are fasting. There was a period of time when I was feeling pretty lousy. I entered that emoji and I got an article and community members reached out that explained it was perfectly normal and here is what to expect next. This is all made possible by the data being inputted and collected.
An interesting trend I found as a product manager and especially within the life sciences industry is the growth of communities. I’ve talked about wearables, AI and machine learning, and data, but it all comes full circle in these communities. Users want to connect with others who are using similar products or going through a similar journey. For example, there is a red light therapy group on Facebook where users ask other members what red light product they have, what conditions the technology has helped with, what their experience has been like, and so on. Many will share relatable data points and establish a bond with people going through a similar journey.
For product managers, this is a great place to interact, gather user research, and understand the pain points that users face. With the exciting advancements in wearables, as well as AI and machine learning, it’s important to understand the power of community and how it enhances these solutions. Community can be built through social media, company apps, or other methods, but it’s going to be important for organizations to build that for their users. A strong community of brand enthusiasts is good for customers while also creating product stickiness. This is especially helpful with new technology that hasn’t been in the market long.
Don’t underestimate the power of fostering a community for your users. People like being a part of a community with others going through a similar journey and trying the same technology.
As a product manager, these are exciting trends that yield great opportunities for organizations in the life sciences industry. Wearable products will continue to increase as will the solutions they provide. Users provide more data points as they increase their use of the technology. Such use will be encouraged further if users establish communities. So PMs should consider ways to foster such growth, such as joining social media groups. All of this, in turn, will lead to advancements in AI and machine learning that create more solutions for users.
About the speaker
Ryan is a Product professional who has spent the last 4+ years in the HealthTech and Life Sciences industry. He specializes in hardware, mobile and web application product development. He is inspired to continue mentoring and leading his product team to build solutions for the ever growing PEMF technology in the Life Sciences & HealthTech space.