Aside from the rise of sensors, expanded broadband access and the ubiquity of connected and mobile devices among patients and doctors, several health-specific trends are making remote care more of a reality. More patients are coming online, meaning that fewer doctors will be needed to serve more patients; payment models are shifting from fee-for-service to managed care approaches that emphasize patient outcomes; and hospitals are under more pressure to keep re-admission rates down. Remote monitoring and communication technology could play a critical role in addressing each of those issues.
Some telehealth innovations, like the iRobot that lets doctors visit a patient’s bedside via an electronic avatar and 15-inch screen, seem like the stuff of science fiction. San Francisco-based Scanadu is developing handheld tools that have been likened to the StarTrek “Tricorder.” A recent product lets you check your temperature, blood oxygen levels, pulse and other vitals by holding the device close to your body. Then it sends the information to your smartphone, where it can be sent on to your doctor. To encourage more innovation in sensor-based mobile technology, the X Prize Foundation even developed the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize competition (in which Scanadu is a participant). A “Magic Carpet”developed by researchers at GE and Intel, uses sensors in home carpets to monitor seniors’ activity and then predict and detect falls.
Via Andrew Spong, Chaturika Jayadewa