The future of connected health devices

IBM's Future of Connected Health DevicesFrom a recent IBM Executive Report:

Health device makers, to date, have primarily targeted consumers who are either fitness focused or chronically ill. But between these two extremes sits a large, fragmented and often overlooked population who seek better information to effectively manage their health. IBM research suggests that successful solution providers will approach this market opportunity as an ecosystem of partners – with an integrated solution that extends beyond the device itself. By plugging the information gap for these consumers, solution providers can help fuel healthcare innovation.

Read The future of connected health devices.

Health Information Seekers

From the report: The Information Seeker segment represents a broad spectrum of consumers unified in their need for assistance in managing a health challenge.

iPhone app to monitor Parkinson’s disease

iTrem is an iPhone app that can use an accelerometer to monitor Parkinson's disease

GTRI scientists Robert Delano (left) and Brian Parise developed iTrem. (CLICK for image information)

New iPhone app may support monitoring and research on Parkinson’s disease

Public release date: 23-Jun-2011 — Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a novel iPhone application that may enable persons with Parkinson’s disease and certain other neurological conditions to use the ubiquitous devices to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to medical personnel.

The researchers believe the application could replace subjective tests now used to assess the severity of tremors, while potentially allowing more frequent patient monitoring without costly visits to medical facilities.

The program – known as iTrem – could be offered later this year by the App Store, an Apple Inc. website that sells iPhone applications. But iTrem will first undergo a clinical study at Emory University and must receive any required approvals from the Food and Drug Administration.

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Blood Pressure Monitor for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

Connected Blood Pressure Monitor for iPad, iPhone and iPod touchWithings Announces US Availability of its
Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

Withings combines sophisticated technology and design to transform an ordinary
blood pressure monitor into an accurate health self-monitoring device

Paris, France June 20, 2011 @ 9:00 AM EST– Today, French technology company Withings announced the US availability of its Blood Pressure Monitor (BPM) for iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®. This Withings BPM, including blood pressure cuff and companion Withings App, is a modern way to measure and record blood pressure readings in the personal and professional arenas.

With more than 25% of the world’s population* affected by hypertension, Withings has combined advanced technology and sophisticated design to create a medical device that is visually attractive, accurate and easy to use at home, in a professional setting or on the go.
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Need More Wireless Spectrum for Telehealth Innovation


To improve cellular signal strength, put your phone high up, but don't hold it or put it near your head.The lack of good cellular connections threatens the future of mobile healthcare solutions. I once got 5 bars on a regular basis, but the wireless signal in my neighborhood has diminished to the point that I’m lucky to get one bar or any connection at all. I took my problem to the AT&T store and showed them a picture of me outside, outside in my PJs standing under an umbrella in the rain to get enough signal to make a call. The headphones I wore prevented my head from blocking the signals, and the phone itself was dangling from a tree branch so my hands weren’t touching the phone.  AT&T finally relented and gave me a micro-cell device to connect to my broadband connection and act like a mini cell tower for my home. Now I get 5 bars again. Do you still get 5 bars? Consistently?

Rising demand for wireless broadband Internet access has created a spectrum crisis that jeopardizes economic productivity, job growth, innovation, and societal gains. Cellular networks once dedicated to voice calls are now used for streaming music, downloading apps, and sharing photos and videos. Mobile data access is consuming much more bandwidth than voice calls and taxing network capacity. We need a national imperative to allocate additional spectrum for wireless broadband, because it will produce numerous economic and societal benefits. Failure to do that could result in wireless data gridlock.

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Nearly 80 Million Wearable Wireless Devices by 2016

Fitness and Wellbeing Devices Will Lead Healthcare-Related
Wearable Wireless Uptake to Nearly 80 Million Devices in 2016

Texas Instruments eZ430-Chronos sports watch reference platform that can be paired wirelessly with heart rate monitors, pedometers or other devices.LONDON – June 13, 2011 – Much is made of the enormous potential for wearable wireless sensors to deliver remote healthcare, and for good reason. But over the next five years, adoption of wireless healthcare sensors will lag well behind uptake of consumer-driven sports, fitness and wellness devices.

A range of factors – from wireless protocol standardization and new device availability to changing social patterns related to participation in activities – will see consumers increasingly turn to wearable wireless sensors to monitor (and often share) their performance results. A combination of M2M [machine-to-machine] and short range wireless connectivity will be embedded in a range of consumer wellness and professional healthcare devices that will connect data collection to cloud applications.

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mHealth Device Manufacturers Adopt Bluetooth

Mobile Health Device Manufacturers Ramp Up New Products Using Bluetooth Technology Version 4.0

Bluetooth Thermometer and Heart Rate Products to Hit Market Soon

KIRKLAND, Wash., 06/07/2011 — (EON: Enhanced Online News)–The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today finalized technology that will drive the creation of Bluetooth thermometer and heart rate products. The recently approved Health Thermometer Profile and Heart Rate Profile built on Bluetooth v4.0 open the door for a new generation of wireless devices for monitoring health and fitness. These devices will join the over 40 million Bluetooth enabled health and medical devices already in market from leading manufacturers like 3M, A&D, Nonin and Omron.

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Bluetooth LE: The Future is Coming Fast

Bluetooth Blood Pressure Monitor sends results wirelessly to monitor service

A&D Medical Blood Pressure Monitor

By Larry Greenberg for, 3/4/2011

Bluetooth technology has been slow to be embraced by the public.  The average consumer probably doesn’t know about many Bluetooth enabled devices — other than their headset, which they’ve most likely been forced into wearing by new “hands-free” legislation created in their local jurisdictions.  The simple fact is there aren’t many other devices using Bluetooth in its classic form, and those that do require a good amount of power (re-charging) which makes them inconvenient.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call on Bluetooth and more specifically, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE).  This new specification of wireless connectivity is poised to open the doors to a wide variety of applications and processes, some of which might seem futuristic in nature but in reality are closer to fruition than you think.

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Post-op app helps patients monitor infections

RFID diagnostic skin patchPRESS RELEASE: WASHINGTON and PHOENIX, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — GENTAG, Inc., Third Technology Capital Investors, and The CORE Institute are pleased to announce the first fully integrated medical grade wireless monitoring kit for post-surgery applications compatible with the new generation of Near Field Communications (NFC) cell phones.  The kit allows patients to self-monitor for excessive swelling in the surgery area or inside casts with their cell phones after hospital discharge (compartment syndrome monitoring). Significant post-operative orthopedics costs savings and improved outcomes for patients are expected.

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Five Tips for Helping Parents with Technology

The New York Times published, Five Tips for Helping Parents with Technology, an article by Paul Boutin on 3/31/11. I tried adding reader comments with a sixth tip, but it wasn’t included because of a glitch in their software. So, I’m summarizing some content here and adding my comment, but I encourage you to read the full article here.

These five steps will make problem-solving much less frustrating:

  1. Switch your parents to the same phone you use.
  2. Switch your parents to whatever e-mail program you use.
  3. Give your folks a computer and printer just like yours.
  4. Set your parents up with remote computer screen viewing software.
  5. Get them on Facebook.
  6. ALSO: Get them on the same video conferencing system you use.

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Vision: A Guide for iPhone Users who are Blind

BrailleI’m a huge fan of smart phones and tablets as the ideal gateway for home healthcare apps, but I always wondered how a blind person could use an iPhone since there are no tactile buttons.

I was delighted to find the Assistive Technologies Blog, a publication of the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) at VCU. It had a pointer to an interesting book, “Getting Started with the iPhone: An Introduction for Blind Users.” This book is available in paper, electronic Braille, text or DAISY for $18.00. Another Braille book of interest is “Social Networking and You: Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin for Blind Users.”