Just under a year after it's US launch, Qualcomm Life announced the expansion of its 2net wireless health platform in the European market.
Laurent Vandebrouk, managing director of Qualcomm Life Europe, told MobiHealthNews that some of Qualcomm Life's medical device partners are already in the European market, and some partners in the US would like to expand into Europe.
Qualcomm's 2net is a cloud-based telehealth system that connects a variety of third-party home health monitors to make biometric data easily available to doctors and care providers at a distance. There are four different ways to get data into the 2net platform, including the 2net Hub, an external device that receives and passes on data to doctors via Bluetooth, WiFi, or ANT+ radio. Since last year, the Qualcomm Life "ecosystem" in the U.S. has expanded to include more than 120 partners, customers, and collaborators at different stages of integration with the system.
Qualcomm officials said they have been envisioning a European launch for some time, with some U.S.-based users asking for the system to be internationally supported. On Thursday, Qualcomm Life Vice President Don Jones wrote a blog post about Europe's ripeness for mobile health expansion, citing data that predicts the European mobile health market will be worth €5.3 billion in 2017.
Jones pointed to the 3 Million Lives project, a UK government initiative that implemented remote patient monitoring on a wide scale in England. Projects like that demonstrate a receptiveness to telehealth on the part of European governments, which will be exceptionally relevant to Qualcomm Life in light of the many government-based single-payer healthcare systems in Europe. That could make a big difference in how quickly next-generation remote monitoring technologies can get off the ground in Europe, since developers don't have to sell providers on them one at a time. Jones told MobiHealthNews he expects larger deployments of remote monitoring in Europe, as opposed to the pattern of many smaller ones that's been seen in the US.
Additionally, in Europe the regulatory process for medical devices is primarily focused on safety, Jones said; whereas FDA regulations are geared towards both safety and efficacy. Because of that, some devices hit the market in Europe before they're cleared in the US.
"From that perspective, we may see some devices [connecting to Qualcomm Life's platform in Europe] that are headed to the US, but aren't here yet," he said.
When Qualcomm announced the launch today at the International Telehealth and Telecare Conference, they also shared that two European companies have already signed on as new 2net partners. Telbios provides remote monitoring and chronic disease care in Italy. Cystelcom, a software development company, runs a service called mHealthAlert, which uses remote monitoring to reduce readmission rates for chronic disease patients. Cystelcom will also be partnered with Qualcomm, distributing 2net in the autonomous governments of Spain.
This summer, MobiHealthNews reported on the 2net SDK development challenge. While they were preparing to role out in Europe, Qualcomm Life was also announcing the winners of that contest last week. The company challenged software developers to create the next "killer health app" that would integrate a patient's 2net data.
The $20,000 winner, Telsano, developed an online dashboard for tracking patient health. The second and third places went to MyHealthPoint and HealthHub, both patient interfaces that leverage 2net data.