The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), the group behind Matter, announced today that it is forming a working group to create a health and wellness technology standards and certification program. devices can interoperate with wearables and other future forms of health technology.
Matter is a new smart home standard that allows IoT devices to communicate with each other, regardless of which company made them. As long as you know a smart home device supports Matter, you know they’ll play well together. The CSA’s new Health and Wellness Working Group aims to apply the same concept to health and wellness technology. The ultimate goal is to help people age gracefully by enabling them to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.
There are not many concrete details yet, as the working group is in a very early stage of development. That said, there are many potential applications, such as remote patient monitoring, chronic condition management, and home care.
“A few examples we like to give are mobility and fall risk,” said Aaron Goldmuntz, CEO of the Medical Center for Interoperability and interim chair of the new working group. “If you look at the aging population, that’s a huge risk.”
For example, there is already a lot of existing technology that can detect when someone falls. It has long been available in smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watches, as well as certain smart home devices. Ideally, you could have a scenario where smart home gadgets can monitor how well a person moves around their house. If someone falls, perhaps the smart home gadget can confirm that a fall actually happened with a smartwatch – which then calls emergency services and alerts your emergency contacts. When paramedics arrive, a smart lock could then let them in.
Obviously this is just one possible scenario and the CSA has not committed to this exact use case. That being said, you could see how enabling something like this could have a positive impact on many lives. But there are several challenges and hurdles to overcome.
Everything related to healthcare and medicine has to meet a much higher bar for accuracy and privacy
For example, anything related to healthcare and medicine must meet a much higher bar for accuracy and privacy. It is also likely that regulatory agencies such as the FDA – as well as its international counterparts – will have to provide some sort of oversight or guidance. And while many people care about data privacy, health data is on another level. For example, one of the biggest reasons why consumers are hesitant to buy a smartwatch is to protect their health data.
“We recognize that there is a higher bar for privacy and regulatory considerations, so we created it as a separate working group,” said Goldmuntz, explaining why this is not the purview of the existing Matter group – although it has yet to be named. health technology standard is likely to function in a similar way. Goldmuntz further explained that the working group has a long-term view of the initiative, but there are short-term opportunities using existing products.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle, however, is the buy-in
Perhaps the biggest hurdle, however, is the buy-in. A big factor in Matter’s success was that the right companies publicly declared their support for the initiative. Given the additional healthcare requirements, the Health and Wellness Working Group will need that same approval. The CSA declined to list which companies are currently part of the working group, beyond stating that “dozens of existing members” are part of the initiative.
“More players in the healthcare sector also need to be involved. We’ve started that outreach, and it will continue throughout the year,” Goldmuntz said, referring to medical device manufacturers, on-the-spot aging services, healthcare providers, pharmacies and government agencies.
“That’s part of why we’re making this announcement. That will be a requirement for success.”