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Solving Medical Device Interoperability – Is Qualcomm Building that Platform?

Posted on September 15, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you’ve spent some time in the mHealth and mobile health space (which are basically the same thing), then you’ve likely run into Qualcomm. They’ve made a big investment in that space with their Qualcomm Life initiative together with their 2Net platform that helps home health devices connect and share data. In many ways it made a lot of sense for a wireless provider (mostly chips from my understanding) to get involved in this space since it was a way for them to sell more chips. It seems like every new medical device needs some wireless technology embedded in it. On the other hand it sometimes felt awkward since Qualcomm really doesn’t directly sell products to healthcare organizations or consumers.

Many people probably missed the announcement that Qualcomm Life acquired Capsule Tech. A lot of people in healthcare don’t know about Capsule Tech. Even fewer probably know about Qualcomm Life. However, Capsule Tech has done a great job building a business around medical device management. Capsule Tech is known as the black box under the hospital bed that captures all the medical device data in a hospital room and sends that data where it needs to go. They’ve recently expanded beyond the black boxes into things like data analytics, but at their core they’re all about collecting and sharing medical device data.

When you think about it from that perspective, that’s kind of what Qualcomm Life has been doing with home health devices and their 2Net platform. They’re collecting and sharing home health data where it needs to go.

As you look at a combined company, you can easily see a platform for medical device data starting to form. It will take some time for them to make it a reality, but you can see how Capsule together with Qualcomm Life could become the hub of medical device data. Now they have expertise in hospital grade medical devices and more patient focused home health devices as well. I can’t think of any other organization that’s merging the two like they could do. Some specific healthcare organizations are doing it on their own, but not a vendor.

Kevin Phillips, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Capsule Tech, told me that many of their customers were asking them for medical device solutions that reached into the home. It makes sense that a hospital using Capsule Tech for their enterprise medical devices would turn to them for their home health efforts as well. Now that Capsule Tech is part of Qualcomm Life, they’ll have a suite of solutions they can make available to their hospital customers.

From the 2Net partner perspective, Capsule Tech brings a large number of healthcare organizations to the table that could now consider buying their wireless health solutions. The key is going to be how well Qualcomm can integrate their 2Net platform with Capsule Tech. Capsule Tech has integrated with pretty much all of the major EHR vendors out there. Can Qualcomm leverage these EHR integrations to the benefit of their 2Net partners?

I asked this very question of Dr. James R. Mault, VP and Chief Medical Officer of Qualcomm Life. He danced around the subject citing the EHR blocking that was highlighted by ONC earlier this year and how many EHR vendors and health systems have made it really hard to create these type of integrations. However, Dr. Mault also described how there’s been some major changes recently in this regard thanks to the push towards value based care and reduced hospital readmissions. Organizations are realizing they have to start opening up. I’d describe his answer as hopeful, but realistic when it comes to the challenges they face with EHR integrations. If Qualcomm Life could offer their partners a path to the EHR through Capsule Tech, that would be a real coup.

At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. This conceptual medical device data sharing platform across the healthcare enterprise and home health sounds great. I’ll be interested in how Qualcomm Life and Capsule Tech do at executing it. Are hospitals really ready to purchase the home health products? Will these solutions help them in their value based reimbursement, ACO, and/or reduced hospital readmission efforts? It’s going to be interesting to watch and see which Qualcomm Life partners are of interest to the hospital market. I told them I’d follow up at HIMSS 2016 to see how they’re doing.

Google Glass Incubator for Healthcare – Glassomics

Posted on August 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This week I spent a lot of time at the SXSW V2V conference in Las Vegas. While at the conference I had the chance to meet and talk with Kyle Samani, founder of Pristine, where we discussed Pristine’s work in bringing Google Glass to healthcare. He’s particularly focused on bringing Google Glass to healthcare, but I have little doubt that Google Glass will be valuable to many parts of healthcare (I’m sure Kyle would agree).

I recently read about a new Google Glass incubator on iMedicalApps. Here’s a short quote from the article:

“We are going to see a revolution going forward of wearable computational devices, with Google Glass being the first one out of the gate,” says Chief Innovation Officer of Palomar Health, Orlando Portale.

This prediction is the reason Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life have teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.

The incubator aims to provide platforms and eventually, hospital venues to create medical apps for computer glasses, smart watches, and wearable devices for patients.

Qualcomm has been a big player in the mobile health space for a while, so it’s no surprise to see them following the mobile health trend into Google Glass. I think it’s interesting they are calling it Glassnomics when it seems the incubator has a much larger focus than glass into all wearable devices.

I’m still not completely sold on Google Glass in particular, but I have little doubt that it has made a whole new category of tech product main stream. We’ll see if Google Glass becomes the dominant platform or if a startup company comes along and makes a better version. Either way, I’m excited at the potential of Google Glass in healthcare.

“Macaw(TM)” Launched by U.S. Preventative Medicine as the Ultimate Health Hub App Enabled by Qualcomm Life

Posted on December 8, 2011 I Written By

Earlier this week I wrote about Qualcomm’s venture into the healthcare market with the launch of Qualcomm Life.  Well, they have wasted little time in making their mark on the mHealth market.  Yesterday they announced the release of a one-of-a-kind mobile health app: Macaw, which was developed in conjunction with U.S. Preventative Medicine.

The difference between this app and the myriad other apps out there is that it is a full personal health monitor.  Macaw not only tracks activity, it covers the full range of health information.  It brings together all of the information from health and fitness apps, plus lab results and wireless devices.

In this world of instant information people are looking for a one stop shop for healthcare just like everything else.  Macaw appears to be exactly that type of app.  Here are some of the highlights from the press release:

Features include:

7 questions to quickly assess your health

GPS to track exercise

Ability to set goals and track weight and calories

Reminders about recommended preventive screenings based on age and gender

Activity and knowledge cards that unlock chances for weekly prizes

Additional features for members of The Prevention Plan include:

A link to the Prevention Score, a unique tool that tracks an individual’s prevention efforts and key health indicators throughout the year

Activity auto-uploaded to The Prevention Plan

Exercise, weight and calories tracked

The Prevention Plan is a clinically-based program designed to help people live healthier lives and avoid having health issues in the first place.  By tying this program into an app on smartphones it only makes it easier for users to actually accomplish what they set out to do: live a healthier life.

I have used a few different apps and gadgets like this, but I am really excited to see how effective Macaw really is.  The fact that it is free only makes it that much more interesting.

Macaw is currently available on the iPhone as well as Android systems.

For the full press release please follow this link.