Wireless Health Data Collection Innovations Getting Hot

Posted on September 25, 2012 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

This week, psfk.com and pharma partner Boehringer Mannheim published a list of the week’s top innovations in healthcare. All were interesting, but I was particularly intrigued by a couple which continue to stretch the boundaries of wireless medicine.

One innovation example comes from a German research team, which has developed a tiny chip (a two-millimeter device much shorter than an eyelash) which can sample blood sugar levels by testing tears or sweat. The chip is equipped to transmit the results wirelessly to providers, as well as sending patients alerts to their wireless phone.  Even cooler, the chip can be powered wirelessly through radio frequency, keeping it charged for weeks or even months.

Another entirely cool innovation comes from U.S. high school student Catherine Wong, who has invented an ECG made of off the shelf electronic components which can broadcast results wirelessly.  The device, which could make ECGs available to to the two billion-plus people without access to healthcare, picks up heart signals, then transmits them via cellphone to a healthcare provider.  The cellphone connects to the ECG using Bluetooth, and heart rhythms display on  a smartphone screen thanks to a Java app.

As readers know, the idea of broadcasting test results to remote providers via wireless devices is not a new one. The idea is so hot, in fact, that the FCC is holding a public meeting on September 24 to discuss how to accelerate the adoption of such approaches. (The event will be live streamed at http://www.itif.org/events/recommendations-mhealth-task-force at 2PM Eastern Standard Time.)

After watching projects like these germinate for a number of years, I’m thrilled to see more innovation arising in this sector of the mHealth space. Inventors, keep it coming!