Earlier this month Rob McCray the President and CEO of the Wireless Life-Sciences Alliance (WLSA) wrote in an editorial piece for MobiHealthNews: "If a device or service can be connected, it should be (under penalty of malpractice, obsolescence and/or customer dissatisfaction). How else will you be able to answer questions about how your product works in the field or why someone should buy it? If you do not take this approach and your competitor does, how will you sell against connectivity?"
The week after at the WLSA Convergence Summit in San Diego McCray predicted during his opening remarks that all medical devices would have connectivity in the next five to ten years.
Whether it's an in-hospital infusion pump, point-of-care handheld ultrasound, blood glucose meter, or fitness company's heart rate monitor: It is becoming the norm for health-related devices to embed some form of connectivity whether cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth or other.
Still, at the WLSA event there were surprises. Take Cambridge Temperature Concepts, which presented its DuoFertility device at the event. The company's wireless-enabled device aims to help couples find the optimal time to try to conceive a baby.
DuoFertility is a peel-n-stick sensor that adheres under the woman's arm to monitor temperature and other indicators to provide 24-hour monitoring for more than six months. The device takes temperature readings up to 20,000 times per day and pits itself up against the much more expensive and invasive IVF.
Here's how DuoFertility works: "When an egg is released, the woman's body temperature increases by around half a degree but this is easily masked by variations that naturally occur by walking, sitting up, etc. so the recommended method is to use a thermometer to take a reading early in the morning just after waking and before getting up. This is inconvenient and has to be manually recorded, charted and then interpreted to try and determine exactly when the temperature change has occurred. Often it is not clear for a day or so by which time the best time for conception has passed. By contrast, the [DuoFertility] sensor's temperature readings taken every few seconds are statistically processed alongside additional physiological parameters, and compared with previous readings from other women who have similar patterns to predict the optimal time for conception a few days ahead so that couples can plan for a romantic evening." (Watch this video for more.)
DuoFertility is already available in the EU and other countries that accept its CE Mark. It is making moves to bring the device to the US. Cambridge Temperature Concepts sees other use cases for its technology: "The company is currently investigating other medical applications for its sensors such as infection response monitoring where the ultra sensitive temperature readings can open up new treatment regimes," a press release stated back in early 2009.
Discovering DuoFertility at the event reminded me of how broad and varied the wireless health opportunity is. It really does span the continuum of health care. Now we can say the wireless health opportunity literary begins at conception.