Wireless healthcare is a rapidly expanding industry that’s changing health monitoring. The Health and Life Sciences group at Qualcomm is one of the key companies driving wireless solutions in healthcare.
Welcome to “wireless band-aids,” wireless sensors, remote health monitoring, pill containers that kindly remind you to take your meds and devices that measure fitness.
Behind these wireless technologies is a mobile phone, the “remote control” to sharing medical records, measuring vital signs and helping people control their weight through diet and exercise reporting.
While Polar chest straps may have helped exercise buffs stay in shape yesterday, today’s wireless healthcare gadgets offer consumers more choices to maintain their health.
Will Wireless Health Revolutionize Healthcare?
Don Jones, former Vice President of Business Development for the company’s health and life sciences division wrote:
The healthcare industry as we know it today is broken…too expensive…and needs to be fixed. ‘Smart’ sensor technologies, when combined with wireless, will create major transformations in the way we will be able to deliver care…Wireless will profoundly change the quality and cost structure of medicine.”
Don Jones became the founder and board member of the Wireless Life Sciences Alliance, an organization that enables new business models and improvements in all sectors of the industry, including consumer health, services, IT, pharmaceutical and medical devices. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Jones spent 22 years developing and growing healthcare enterprises.
According to Don Jones, each year 150 million Americans (yes, 150 MILLION) use a hospital for emergency care, testing or admission. When discharged, patients are increasingly walking out the door wearing wireless healthcare sensors that measure vital signs and keep hospital and medical staff updated about patients’ conditions. Qualcomm estimates that by 2014 Americans will use over 400 MILLION wearable medical devices.
Bio-Sensor Monitoring Devices
One of the more common devices, the “smart band-aid,” is equipped with a power supply and biosensors, allowing medical staff to ensure patient safety and improve medical monitoring. Eventually, patients with conditions not requiring immediate hospitalization (ex. those with cardiovascular conditions) may wear a smart band-aid applied by their physicians during routine exams.
As Don points out in the podcast interview, wireless healthcare technicians, nurses and, ultimately computers, will monitor our bodily conditions remotely. If conditions warrant human intervention, computer programs will alert medical staff.
The move to wireless health care is critical to controlling health care costs while improving well-being.
Both large and small companies–quite a few in the San Diego area–are trying to gain a foothold in this rapidly expanding industry, as witnessed by this year’s Consumer Electronics Show’s attendees, including Halo Monitoring, a maker of wireless monitoring devices. (Listen to the Chris Otto podcast.)
Don Jones Healthcare Podcast Topics
- Why both large and small companies will flourish in wireless healthcare
- Social differences. In Japan, for example, workers turning 40 must submit to health exams. Employers of workers who are at risk for chronic health problems must pay higher health insurance premiums, unlike in the U.S. where premiums are predominately determined by age and sex
- Making turn-key wireless applications easy to use
- Potential funding of wireless health initiatives in the recently passed health care bill in Congress
- Horizontal applications (wireless monitoring) vs. vertical (consumer-focused)
- Consumer applications of wireless healthcare (Nike Plus); “Pill” box for drug re-orders and compliance
- Wireless healthcare applications in Africa and other developing nations and continents, including text messaging to validate legitimate vs. counterfeit drugs. How village workers with cell phones in Africa act as intermediaries to ensure medical treatment is accessible when needed
- Injecting “fun” into wireless applications with mobile games and other apps to improve user engagement and compliance
- Medical record privacy; keeping data protected through encryption until it reaches a physician or other health care provider
- Consumer control over personal medical information
- Distribution of wireless health products by international and United States’ carriers
- The role of Apple’s iPad and similar mobile devices
- 3G networks and their impact on telemedicine and other wireless health applications
- Increasing demand for data analytics companies to handle growing health databases
Don Jones, Trice Imaging
Founder and Board Member at West Wireless Health Institute
Board Member of Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Founder and Board Chairman of Wireless Life Sciences Alliance
Board member of the American Telemedicine Association
Qualcomm Information and Videos: