M2M-Enabled Healthcare for Asthma, Heart Patients


What would you think if told that someday you might use a smartphone app to monitor your asthma? Or perhaps you might have a video conference with your doctor instead of going to a clinic. It might even be the case that after surgery M2M-enabled devices will monitor your body for complications. While these may sound like futuristic technologies, they are all within the realm of reality. 

Connected healthcare devices are changing the way we think about wellness and disease prevention. This week at the mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., held December 3-5, many healthcare technologies featuring M2M were on display. Among them, connected devices played a major role in showcasing the future of healthcare.

One technology we’ve been hearing about for a while is BodyGuardian. Preventice, www.preventice.com, licensed remote-monitoring algorithms for the BodyGuardian Remote Monitoring System from Mayo Clinic. During mHealth Summit, Preventice announced the system will be commercially available in early 2013, and clinical trials are currently underway in the U.S. and Europe.

BodyGuardian works to detect, record, and transmit data about heart patients using a wireless system. A sensor sticks to the patient’s skin and transmits information to the Preventice mHealth platform. The data is available to doctors through a secure system when they use a mobile device such as tablet, or online via a computer. Physicians can also receive alerts regarding specific changes in a patient’s biometrics.

Currently, Preventice says the trials underway are looking into several scenarios, such as monitoring cardiac rhythms in post-surgical patients, as well as monitoring patients with congestive heart failure to detect problems earlier.

During the mHealth Summit, solutions on display also focused on smartphone applications. iSonea, www.soundasthma.com, highlighted its app for asthma sufferers. Called AsthmaSense, the app is designed to help patients monitor and manage their asthma. Users enter information into the app about their medications and symptoms, and they can also set alerts to take medicines or test their lung function. All the data is recorded for later viewing or for review with a doctor.

Even with all the connected healthcare solutions on the market, sometimes you still need to see a doctor. But even that interaction is becoming connected with new solutions. A cloud-based remote-patient monitoring SaaS (software-as-a-service) from Ericsson, www.ericsson.com, for example, includes a video component.

Here’s how it works: Patients use Bluetooth-connected devices to check and record vital signs at home, and data is available to their healthcare providers. The information is wirelessly transmitted from devices such as weight scales and blood-pressure cuffs and then sent via the cellular network to Ericsson’s system, where providers can access it securely.

Additionally, the system supports live, two-way video to provide a connection between the patient and provider. This way, the doctor can see things only visible to the eye, such as changes in skin color or mood.

All in all, connected systems are revolutionizing every corner of healthcare. It may not be long before these solutions come to a hospital or clinic near you.

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