First Continua-certified Bluetooth device next week

By Brian Dolan
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Continua Health AllianceYou can expect the Continua Health Alliance to announce two new certified products by next week, Rick Cnossen, chairman of the alliance's technical working group, told attendees at the American Telemedicine Association event here in Las Vegas. Cnossen said that one of the products will also be the first Bluetooth-enabled Continua-certified product to hit the market. So far, Continua has only officially certified one product: Nonin's pulse oximeter, which uses the alliance's USB module for future interoperability. Cnossen indicated that the first Bluetooth-enabled Continua-certified product will not be one of Nonin's.

"Opportunity is knocking," said Partners Healthcare's Douglas McClure, "and chaos is following." McClure, who is the Corporate Manager for Partners' Center for Connected Health, described successful pilots that made use of mobile remote monitoring services for diabetes, hypertension and heart failure management, but lamented an inability to mix and match the solutions for patients who are trying to manage two or more of these conditions. The services require different devices on different networks and interface via different types of connections -- chaos was the word used by most panelists from Continua.

The alliance is working toward a common way to communicate data, McClure said. "In getting that industry adoption [of Continua's guidelines] we get the flexibility that we want, that our patients want and that providers will adopt... One of the things we are really looking forward to, is to say: 'If you want to send us data, you have to do it through a Continua-certified xHR interface." McClure later explained that Partners is already including that kind of language in some of its grant proposals. He also said vendors should expect to see more RFPs including Continua-certified product demands as early as next year, depending on the number of devices in the market by then.