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Abbott Explores New Business Opportunities in Consumer Wearables as Covid Testing Demand Declines

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Abbott Expands into Consumer Wearables Market, Targeting Health-Conscious Individuals

Abbott Laboratories CEO Robert Ford recently discussed the company's foray into the consumer wearables market at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas. While Abbott derives the majority of its revenue from medical devices and diagnostic tools, it recognizes the need to invest in research and development for other offerings. One such product is the FreeStyle Libre, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) designed for diabetes management. Surprisingly, the device has attracted interest from individuals without diabetes who want to monitor their body's response to food and daily activities. This unexpected demand has prompted Abbott to explore opportunities in the wearables market.

Expanding Beyond Diabetes

Ford emphasized Abbott's belief in expanding the FreeStyle Libre platform beyond diabetes to cater to a larger population of health-conscious individuals. The company aims to develop products, solutions, and services that help people maintain their well-being. In line with this vision, Abbott announced the Lingo wearable sensor, currently available in the U.K., which tracks glucose levels and provides personalized coaching recommendations through a companion app. Abbott envisions Lingo as a tool to enhance users' understanding of their metabolism and facilitate healthier decision-making.

Simplifying Data Presentation and Overcoming Challenges

As Abbott ventures into the consumer wearables market, Ford acknowledges the need to present data in a simple and actionable manner. The company aims to make the latest technology accessible to users without overwhelming them or requiring medical expertise. However, Abbott, with its extensive experience in collaborating with healthcare professionals, faces the challenge of adapting its messaging to resonate with a broader audience. Ford recognizes the necessity of refining marketing strategies, maintaining consumer engagement, and targeting the right audience to ensure success in this new market.

Lessons from Past Experiences

Ford's previous role as Abbott's chief operating officer and executive vice president of medical devices has provided valuable insights into the challenges of user-friendliness. The company's initial CGM, FreeStyle Navigator, faced issues with cost, size, and usability, leading to discontinuation. This setback prompted Ford to improve communication with consumers, shaping his approach at Abbott. With a focus on the current technological revolution in healthcare, Ford aims to leverage advancements in AI, connectivity, and hardware devices to empower individuals with access to their health data. In conclusion, Abbott's CEO, Robert Ford, highlights the company's expansion into the consumer wearables market and its commitment to providing innovative solutions for health-conscious individuals. By leveraging its expertise and understanding of the evolving healthcare-tech landscape, Abbott aims to develop user-friendly products that enable people to take control of their health. With the upcoming submission of the Lingo filing to the FDA, Abbott's entry into the wearables market is poised to make a significant impact.

Abbott Laboratories Dives into Consumer Wearables: Implications for New Businesses

Abbott's New Direction: Consumer Wearables

Abbott Laboratories, traditionally known for its medical devices and diagnostic tools, is making a strategic pivot into the consumer wearables market. This shift was prompted by the unexpected interest in their FreeStyle Libre, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) designed for diabetes management, from health-conscious individuals without diabetes. This development signals a potential opportunity for new businesses interested in the wearables market.

Health-Conscious Market Expansion

Abbott's CEO, Robert Ford, emphasized the company's commitment to cater to a broader population of health-conscious individuals, beyond diabetes patients. They aim to develop products and services that help people maintain their well-being. This includes the Lingo wearable sensor, which tracks glucose levels and offers personalized coaching recommendations. This expansion into the wearables market could inspire new businesses to explore similar ventures.

Simplifying Data and Overcoming Challenges

Abbott's foray into the consumer wearables market also highlights the importance of presenting data in a user-friendly manner. Ford acknowledges the challenges of adapting the company's messaging to resonate with a broader audience, a lesson that new businesses can learn from. The need for refined marketing strategies, consumer engagement, and audience targeting is crucial for success in this market.

Learning from Past Experiences

Ford's past experiences at Abbott have provided valuable insights into the challenges of user-friendliness. The discontinuation of their initial CGM, FreeStyle Navigator, due to cost, size, and usability issues, led to improved communication with consumers. This experience serves as a valuable lesson for new businesses entering the market. In essence, Abbott's expansion into the consumer wearables market and its commitment to providing innovative solutions for health-conscious individuals could serve as a blueprint for new businesses. By understanding the evolving healthcare-tech landscape and leveraging advancements in technology, new businesses can develop user-friendly products that empower individuals to take control of their health.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/10/10/abbott-ceo-robert-ford-at-hlth-pushing-into-wearables-as-covid-fades.html
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