CES 2023, one of the year’s biggest tech conferences, kicks off Thursday in Las Vegas with presentations from industry leaders like Samsung, LG and Nvidia among many others.

The tech world, like so many sectors of the economy, is increasingly focused on healthcare and opportunities to affect patient care going forward.

To get a sense of what’s on the agenda at CES 2023, MM+M spoke with Kristin Ryan, a 2022 PR Week 40 Under 40 honoree who joined GCI Health in 2020 and was promoted to EVP and head of U.S. digital and innovation last year. The agency was named to the 2022 MM+M Agency 100 list and just named Amy Inzanti as global chief insights and strategy officer.

Below are some of Ryan’s thoughts on what to expect at the influential conference and how it intersects with the healthcare industry.

MM+M: What are you looking forward to at CES?

Ryan: CES has their Innovation Awards, and there are a number of healthcare companies that are being honored. The conference has focused on a few key areas that I’m definitely keeping an eye on.

One is technology that merges virtual and real-life experiences. Going into 2022, we saw the rise of the metaverse, so as we go into Web3 and connect people, places and things with technology, we see an opportunity to impact diagnostics, the patient journey and healthcare experiences. I definitely expect to see companies that are focused on virtual reality and augmented reality enter the healthcare space, which is super exciting. 

Since I first attended CES years ago, the digital focus on healthcare has exploded and now it’s everywhere. CES is a great way to kick off the year because it features companies from all over the world coming to one place to showcase products that they’ve been prototyping and testing over the past couple of years.

Many of these companies may probably be acquired but they’re showcasing and they’re there to solve real problems in the healthcare space with technology. They’re showcasing some interesting business and use cases for tech in the healthcare sector.

MM+M: What are some trends you’re paying attention to in the industry?

Ryan: I would say the use of technology in the metaverse, which is probably a term that we won’t continue to use in the next five years, but we’re calling it that now. 

We’re looking at ways to experience care virtually or connect with people as well as technology that will bring healthcare home. 

Additionally, we’re leveraging the internet of things within the home because the COVID-19 pandemic caused patients to embrace virtual care options, like telemedicine and things like that. They expect to be able to interact with their healthcare provider when they want and need to, whether it’s virtually or in-person while also having that access to care and information from the comfort of their own home. 

I do see a major influence, of course, from entrants like Amazon; they have that history of customer-centricity and that impacted the way that consumers expect services to be provided to them, similar to an Uber-like care model. I do believe that is going to impact some of these direct-to-consumer healthcare innovations that we’ll be seeing. Insurers are definitely responding to this shift in patient and consumer expectations. They’re including virtual care in their patient care plans now and investors are also paying attention to that as well. 

Another thing that I’m definitely keeping an eye on, and this may be an obvious one, is data privacy. Since 2021, people have been much more concerned with their data, with the Apple app tracking transparency changes and the concerns around data privacy because of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. Patients are focused on their privacy and controlling their health data. So I expect to hear a lot about data practices and that will be a cornerstone of every offering that is showcased.  

MM+M: What should we expect to see from GCI Health in 2023?

Ryan: We have expanded our capabilities so much over the last two years, which has been exciting and we are doubling down on our experiential and innovation arm in digital as well. But we’re excited to be leading the way with bringing content to Web3 and understanding realistic ways to enter that space for our healthcare clients. 
At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we’re impacting the patient experience and helping people get better care. We do believe that ensuring that we are on top of the way people are consuming media and technology is the best way to ensure that we’re getting them the information that they need.