@CTIA Proteus Biomedical: A $100B industry

By: Brian Dolan | Apr 9, 2009        

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Proteus Biomedical's "smart pill"The more than 140 attendees at the eWEEK Presents: Healthcare and IT Wireless session at the CTIA event in Las Vegas last year, edified the claim that wireless health stole the show last week. 

“While many industries are making cutbacks, healthcare is one industry that promises resilience and strength. In particular, mobile devices promise a world of new applications for patients and medical providers alike, especially when it comes to medical compliance and the treatment of long-term medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity,” eWEEK’s Director of Community and Content Stephen Wellman said at the CTIA Wireless event in Las Vegas last week. “Medical providers and patients alike can use wireless technology to better manage healthcare treatment programs and costs as well as improve the overall well being of the nation.”

And so began the wireless medicine panel session that mobihealthnews helped organized at the event last week. I gave a brief industry overview, including explanations for the diminishing number of general practitioners; an outline of the the number of Baby Boomers set to reach Medicare eligibility come 2011; the prospect of 45 million previously uninsured patients entering the system if Universal Healthcare comes to pass; two-thirds of Americans 65+ years old and three-fourths of Americans 80+ years old have multiple chronic conditions; and finally, 68 percent of Medicare spending is on people with 5 or more chronic conditions.

Proteus Biomedical’s CEO Andrew Thompson then explained his company’s complementary product to smart bandages: Proteus Biomedical’s edible microchip, called Raisin. The microchip, which can monitor whether a person actually ingests their medicine, will help create a $100 billion industry, Thompson said. The Raisin is made from ingredients “all found in the food chain,” Thompson assured the audience. He also noted that the technology could be embedded into any pill out there and since its rollout is imminent, it is especially well-timed considering the number of drug patents set to expire in the next few years. Generic drugs with wireless sensors embedded are the lynchpin to the $100 billion market Thompson predicted.

iTMP's AppsFounder and CEO of iTMP Technology Michael Williams presented on his company’s wireless bridge, which connects wireless sensors that monitor biometrics to fitness applications on the iPhone. iTMP’s aims to make the fitness tracking experience cool, fun, simple and custom. iTMP’s wireless bridge is called SM Heart Link, which interfaces with heart rate chest straps or cycling sensors on bikes.

Next up was Entra Health System’s CEO Richard Strobridge who showed off his company’s glucometer, which he said was the first FDA and CE cleared connected blood glucose monitor. Entra’s MyGlucoHealth meter offers simple, wireless transmission of test results to a patient’s secure electronic journal. The company also offers the MyGlucoHealth Patient Analytics Portal, which gives patients, clinicians and caregivers access to patient data both from the desktop and mobile phone.

Finally, Bob Schwarzberg, the CEO of Sensei described his company’s various disease management solutions for the iPhone including Sensei’s My Diabetes Guide. Schwarzberg said that the 24 million Americans with diabetes and the other 57 million Americans with pre-diabetes can now take advantage of step-by-step information to understand what they need to do, to know, to eat, and to ask their doctors in order to better manage their condition. The company sells both an iPhone and iTouch version of the app for 99 cents.

“These solutions are not about cutting costs in healthcare,” Proteus’ Thompson proclaimed. “If we wanted to simply cut costs, then that would be easy–just stop providing care. The key is to provide value… to inject value into the healthcare industry in the U.S.”