Think there’s not enough evidence to prove the efficacy of wireless, home-based patient monitoring?
Robin Felder, associate director of clinical chemistry and toxicology and a pathology professor at the University of Virginia, disputes that notion. Felder likes to cite a 2007 paper in the Journal of Telemedicine and e-Health. That paper showed a 74 percent reduction in the cost of caring for patients in assisted living with “passive” monitoring devices, and, notably, the rate of urinary tract infections in the study group dropped to near zero.
To Felder, who conducts research in medical automation, robotics and process improvement in clinical laboratories, the key word is “passive.” This means you don’t have to think about it, even to put it on.
Felder, who spoke during a “Views from the Top” session at last week’s HIMSS conference in Orlando, Fla., said that 95 percent of home blood-pressure monitors eventually get stashed in a drawer because patients have to go out of their way to use the devices. The presentation highlighted a new generation of passive wireless patient monitoring that’s part of something Felder called “wellness support.” This is the integration of multiple sources of diagnostic information, covering traditional healthcare encounters, lab testing, pharmacy, molecular biology and lifestyle.
In the near future, expect to see underwear and other everyday garments with embedded blood pressure and pulse sensors. “It’s more passive than strapping something on your arm,” Felder said.
For about a penny, pharmaceutical companies can add a digestible chip to a pill to indicate whether the patient took the drug, monitor stomach pH and other vitals, and transmit readings to a cell phone via Bluetooth. Keep reading>>