No longer under the Withings name, Nokia's connected health ecosystem hits market

By Heather Mack

As promised, Nokia has officially launched its suite of consumer digital health tools that formerly lived under the Withings name. Along with the connected scale, blood pressure monitor, thermometer and activity tracker, Nokia has also released a digital program for chronic condition management called the Patient Care Platform and an updated version of the Health Mate app.

The technology company has moved relatively quickly into the digital health market, and he launch comes just four months after Nokia first revealed it would be offering a connected health ecosystem. Nokia announced it was interested in the space a little over a year ago, and acquired Withings a few weeks later. And while digital health is just the company’s latest iteration, consumers seem ready for it.

“What is very striking for us as we ran our latest research is 80 percent of the consumers we surveyed already think Nokia is carrying digital health products,” Cedric Hutchings, Nokia’s vice president of digital health told MobiHealthNews. “This let us know that this is the perfect time to offer our full products portfolio under the Nokia brand. For us, it is a very important week.”

The full product line is available on the company’s website and major retailers including Best Buy, Amazon, Bed, Bath and Beyond. In a few months, the devices will be available in physical locations of CVS stores, Target, Babies R Us and Apple stores.

The products aren’t entirely new, of course. The company launched the connected scale and a smart, FDA-cleared thermometer under Withings last June, and also indicated they would look beyond the direct to consumer space with the announcement of a project with Helsinki University Hospital to develop remote patient monitoring solutions.

The Health Mate app connects Nokia’s entire digital health offering, pulling together data to create detailed reports on activity, sleep, weight and blood pressure.

“The app also has coaching, which is a big new feature for us," said Hutchings. "It can be used to set multi-week goals and use the content-based coaching to drive actionable insights, and it's really breaking the gap between patient and doctor and making sure they use their devices."

While Hutchings wouldn’t reveal the extent of how the coaching worked (such as the degree of human or AI components) he did say Nokia plans to continue building out the app to incorporate findings from collaborations with major medical institutions involved in the development of the new devices, including Scripps, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford MedX.

Parallel to the consumer device launch, Nokia has been testing the Patient Care Platform in Europe, which integrates the full Nokia portfolio of devices to provide near-real time data to patients and their care team to help support diagnosis, manage or prevent chronic illness and, ultimately, deliver targeted care.

“Eventually, we will be expanding what the app and our devices can do, by linking with more programs to empower patient care, but now we are focusing on the consumers and patient first,” said Hutchings. “Part of the vision here is to enable much more prevention, earlier in treatment, by meeting much more of human beings’ needs when it comes to taking control of their health and having a long-term impact.”

Nokia’s foray into consumer digital health products is reminiscent of Philips Healthcare’s launch of clinically-validated health-monitored devices last summer. The device and platform are similar, as is the approach to early-stage health management.  While Philips has a deep reach into the clinical space with a range of remote monitoring and telemedicine delivery products, Nokia isn’t quite venturing that far yet.

“We’ve been working on this initial transition for a months, and the complexity of making a change this way means its just part of the equation to do it in a sound way before we transition to another phase,” said Hutchings. "We had this very intense period of preparation, this whole global swap of products, and we're excited to be back in the consumer market, back into consumer hands and, in a broader sense for Nokia, into consumer health."