Healthcare Connections

5/27/2011

There are cool connected devices that can help make our lives more convenient, and then there are those that can actually save our lives. There is enormous potential for connected devices to enhance the wellness practices of people 24/7, and the innovation just keeps coming.

We have seen connected devices come to market that help people manage everything from blood glucose levels to even the way in which they take their medication. Now we see a lightweight mobile device for monitoring heart arrhythmia.

Expected to be commercially available in North America later this year and worldwide shortly thereafter, the Aera-CT device is designed to improve the ability to rapidly detect heart arrhythmias during normal day-to-day activities and over long periods of time. Developed by TZ Medical, www.tzmedical.com, the device uses a wireless communication module from Cinterion Wireless Solutions, www.cinterion.com, which transfers detailed diagnostic data between patients and providers via cellular networks and the Internet. Authorized caregivers can securely view patient data at anytime, from anywhere in the world to determine treatment approaches.


Just how big is the need for such a product in the market today? According to Bob Doerr, TZ Medical project manager, there are roughly four million people in the US today that need care for recurring arrhythmias.

Another new innovation in the area of personal health comes in the form of a mobile app. Verizon Wireless, www.verizon.com, and Medco Health Solutions, Inc., www.medcohealth.com, announced an application that can help patients and their doctors find the lowest-cost prescription drug.

The Medco Pharmacy mobile app, available now on Verizon Wireless Android handsets and BlackBerry devices, provides information pertaining to out-of-pocket costs for any prescription drug and lower-cost options specific to a person’s prescription drug plan.
An interesting aspect to the app is its ability to identify potentially harmful drug interactions. Patients will receive drug interaction alerts based on the patient’s prescription history. According to Verizon, this is true even if the patient is treated by several doctors or fills prescriptions at several different pharmacies. Patients register at medco.com to access their complete medication history and drug plan and discuss cost-saving options and drug safety or coverage issues with their medical professional.

According to research from Medco, roughly 500,000 prescriptions that have a lower-cost option available are written every day for its members. This shows just how enormous the potential savings opportunities can be for patients with such an app.

“The Medco Pharmacy mobile app provides innovative patient-specific pharmacy information that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the healthcare system; it puts actionable information in front of patients so they’re able to share it with their physicians, even while still in the exam room, or the pharmacist before dispensing. It provides personalized results for the more than 65 million members we serve,” says Tom Feitel, senior vice president, Imagineering and Innovation, Medco. “Medco is proud to bring this mobile solution to its clients and members as we continue to look for innovative ways to accelerate electronic practices within the healthcare system.”

The innovation just keeps coming in the area of healthcare. Check out the July/August issue of Connected World magazine to get a glimpse into what’s next for connected devices and healthcare.





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