Monday, June 14, 2010

Wireless medicine to revolutionize medical practice

Wireless medicine has the potential to revolutionize medical practice and to help curb healthcare costs, according to Dr. Joseph Smith, Chief Medical and Science Officer for the West Wireless Health Institute in La Jolla, California and former Vice President of Emerging Technologies for Johnson & Johnson in the Corporate Office of Science and Medicine.

In an interview with Medscape Business of Medicine, Dr. Smith said that the model of remote monitoring to control titratable therapy can be extended for nearly any chronic disease that has a measure of disease activity.

"It's easy to contemplate remote monitoring of heart failure and diabetes. It's not a big stretch to contemplate remote monitoring of autoimmune diseases or other forms of chronic diseases characterized by waxing and waning periods and exacerbations," he said. "I think we will readily monitor and titrate therapy at a distance for such patients to avoid the expensive decompositions of these chronic diseases."

The estimates are in line with a report published by Juniper Research earlier this year indicating that healthcare smartphone applications are expected to significantly contribute to mHealth revenues.

Dr. Smith added that remote monitoring equipment would also affect physician assistants, nurses, and other office staff who are typically involved in patient-monitoring interactions allowing them to do a better job of assuring that patients most in need of care get that care in places and times that are most appropriate.

The growing interest in telemedicine is also attracting large mobile phone manufacturers who show growing interest in this field.

So for example, RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry mobile devices, and Vodafone announced recently a new services that allows doctors check the ECG of patients through mobile devices allowing them to get results in a much more efficient and less time consuming manner.

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