Technology To Allow For Remote Monitoring Of Patient Health… Someday

from the to-your-health dept

Perhaps you’ve seen those commercials in which a man gets an email from his car, updating him on its health. Some companies are now pushing for similar remote monitoring of individual health. New products include scales that connect to the internet, and live video-conferencing setups that allow a nurse to monitor a patient. New technologies could also give rise to instant biofeedback, monitoring that alerts person when certain health signals are raising flags. While there are probably efficiency gains to be had from this technology, it’s going to be some time before any of this takes hold. It took a long time before doctors started emailing with patients, and still many won’t. And do people actually want real-time health monitoring, like regular SMS about heartbeats, breathing, and the nervous system? Furthermore, while nurses may like being able to watch a patient over a screen, instead of making a house call, expect them to make noise about the importance “face to face” care as soon as nurses in India try to get in on the action.

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Comments on “Technology To Allow For Remote Monitoring Of Patient Health… Someday”

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Mousky (user link) says:

Warning: Rant Ahead.

Heck, I would like to be able to stop filling out one of those ‘background health’ forms you fill out on your first visit to a specialist. Come on, I live in Canada where each Canadian is issued a health card. Why not have my medical history on that card or at least allergies, medical conditions, surgeries, shots, and say your 10 last doctor’s visits.

And while we are speaking about technology, how about a customized menu when you access a bank machine. Why do I have to choose english all the time – that should be a default option on my card. I typically withdraw $60 from my chequing account and that takes 2 to 3 steps to accomplish – here is an idea: how about a quck withdraw button that will take out $60 from my chequing account in one press.

My wife was trying to figure out if she was receiving any more employment insurance payments – she is on parental leave (we adopted a child). She tried the government website. Nothing. She called the automated number. Sorry it’s a holiday. She called the automated number today. Sorry our data centre is busy. Holy crap.

Sorry for the rant, but before we make inroads in remote health monitoring, I suggest that we improve other areas first. Rant off.

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Unlikely, I'm afraid

It’s hard to develop a business model that works. Tons of people come out of school with business plans to do this but none of them have been able to figure out how to get enough revenue to make it work.

Not to mention the cost of false alarms….how many unknown cardiac incidents do elderly people typically have while sleeping anyway? Nobody has collected the baseline data (and who would if they couldn’t recoup the cost? Who would participate?)

Crack that and there are any number of technologies waiting to be applied!

Nick Abruzzo says:

When EMR standards are developed and USED by most hosptials across the US, there will be wealth of personalized health information services that hit the market.

While there has been significant concern expressed by the public regarding the security and safety of sharing personal health information electronically, that concern amounts to little more than a tempest in a teapot. The overall benefits of the technologies you mention far outweigh such concerns. The positive impact such technologies will have on chronic disease alone will silence even the fiercest critics.

Ricky Bobby says:

Out Sourcing to Missouri

Good Mo’nin’. How kin ah he’p yo’ today?

Ah see thet yo’ haf a fevah of 102, yer 36 an’ a ha’f poun’s on over weight, yo’ smoked two packs of cigarettes last evenin’ (af’er midnight), yer blood presure is dangerously high…

Please, make love t’yer partner befo’e it is too late…

Yo’ all come back now, yo’ hear! Fry mah hide!


dorpus says:

What if it can't be outsourced?

Nurses in India are very poorly trained, and take bribes for most of their salary. In a typical third world country, a nurse is someone who has an equivalent of a 6th grade education, knows how to read the number on a thermometer, and spends most of her time cleaning up shit and blood. They are equivalent to what we would call nurse’s aides. As for anyone requiring more sophisticated care, rich patients in third world countries go to hospitals in better countries.

Benjamin Stiefel (user link) says:

Reminded of sci fi movies.

What worries me is that we wouldn’t necessarily have control over the information. HIPAA & other regulations currently require standards of privacy – if you’re being emailed or otherwise informed of health data, who else can have access to that?

I’d rather not see the day when I’m told that the breeding laws of 2012 require me to give up my sex organs due to chronic high blood pressure.

On the other hand, if this were to set the standards higher for control & transmission of personal health information, that would move us rapidly forward in the realms of disease prevention (you’ve caught: bird flu!), health maintenance, saving time filling out patient forms, what have you.

I’m just worried that the way things stand now, we woul have legislation making terrible movies like GATTACA and The Island come true

Axe says:

Come on folks

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability

Act) has been stalled since it’s inception in 1996. In fact HIPAA has just gone through (another) simplification process.

We can all speculate on why, but the most obvious reasons are cost of implementation and feasibility. Health insurance lobbyists also throw a wrench in the works.

For all you laymen out there HIPAA is the legislation handed down by congress designed to normalize digital information for the healthcare industry. Basically a standards body that sets the requirements for different health organizations to communicate with each other. Right now information is shared through a hodge-podge of proprietary techniques.

This technology along with any future technologies targeted towards the Healthcare industry will never be implemented on a wide scale until American’s take Healthcare seriously. To do that we would have to implement a Healthcare model much like those already in place in Europe. The God’s in White would never put up with that.

Finally, privacy issues would become the ward of the state. States cannot deal with privacy data responsibly because the bureaucratical standards are too archaic to handle the influx. That brings to mind a recent incident in Florida (where else!) where sensitive personal information was (accidentally) posted on the Internet.

Enigma says:

Not only possible, functional too

I believe a prototype of this technology (or a working model) has already been made in my university’s electrical engg. dept. The point is that they worked on transferring the immense amount of data (many differnet scales and monitors) in real-time at dial-up speeds that are common in India today.

Imagine the applications: In developing countries, this might mean access to health care; in emergency situations, doctors might be able to start taking action even before the patient reaches the hospital; in case of any natural calamities and disasters too this might find great applications.

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