At the recent CTIA in San Diego, which the imedicalapps team has covered previously, Sprint and Ideal Life jointly made a big announcement.
Ideal Life, a remote health management provider, is introducing wireless, touchscreen kiosks that allow patients to track and manage their health and wellness. The kiosks connect through Sprint’s 3G service across the country and Ideal Life wants to blanket the US with them.
The new kiosks concept is analogous to the traditional ATM interface that we have grown accustomed to. While you are able to conduct business from inside a bank, (or even on your smartphone) having a kiosk, in this case an ATM, allows users access to their account information from across the globe.
The same idea permeates the new Ideal Life kiosks.
“Wireless machine to machine (M2M) technology allows patients to send vital health data to doctors using various mobile monitoring devices other than smartphones. The cloud-based kiosks run on Sprint’s 3G network.”
Having access to these kiosks in a myriad of places will make them as commonplace as ATMs are today. The scope of where the kiosks will go also mirrors the ATM concept and is only limited to an area that is able to receive Sprint’s 3G coverage. Luckily, that is most of the country.
“Ideal Life already offers wired kiosks in hospitals, community centers and employee wellness programs. It also makes remote-monitoring devices to manage conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, asthma and obesity. The company plans to place the new wireless kiosks in libraries, schools, clinics and doctor’s offices as well as community health centers such as assistive living facilities.”
The goal isn’t to stop there either. Both companies have also been garnering support from large corporations. These organizations are interested in acquiring the kiosks for their employee health and wellness programs. Even pharmacies are trying to get in on this.
” Pharmacies may also have a use for the kiosks, since they’re already offering flu shots, she said. The kiosks will allow pharmacies to store and transmit additional data on patients. ‘Now this just takes it to the next level, and gets info uploaded to your record that’s unique and private,’ Robinson told eWEEK.”
“Although pharmacies have featured health-management devices such as Ideal Life’s before, the ability to send data in the cloud is new, Steve Wheeler, general manager for Ideal Life, told eWEEK. ‘There have been blood pressure machines in drugstores forever, but data never went anywhere,’ he said.”
What do the kiosks actually do, you may ask. The kiosks are able to record biometric readings such as your blood pressure, weight, blood glucose levels and other important stats. When a patient interacts with the kiosk, the information/data generated is securely transmitted to doctors through Sprint’s 3G network for their review and assessment.
“Data is transferred into Ideal Life’s collaborative care software, which features a built-in algorithm to help physicians analyze the information, Wheeler said. The algorithm also analyzes abnormal readings such as high blood pressure and asks patients questions such as, “Did you take your medication?” or “Did you exercise?” [Wheeler] explained.”
Moreover, once the data is uploaded, it can be easily transferred to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR). If a patient experiences a sudden increase or decrease in weight or a change in their blood pressure, the kiosk has the potential to record the data and send it to a physician or hospital ER department for a quick decision on care, according to the article.
All this translates into benefits for patients as well as healthcare organizations. The aim is for the kiosks to prevent patient health crises and to ultimately save money on health care exams and hospitalization.
“In a recent Ideal Life study, 200 patients with CHF were able to reduce the cost for hospital admissions from $1.26 million to $540,000 when they used Ideal Life’s remote-monitoring system, the company reports. Meanwhile, 88 percent of doctors would like patients to be able to monitor their health independently, according to a report by the Health Research Institute at PwC.”
These findings are promising and indicative of a rising trend within the healthcare community toward more self-management and preventative care.