The Continua Health Alliance's Executive Director Chuck Parker moderated a few sessions at the World Health Care Congress last week in Washington D.C. and also gave a brief presentation on the Alliance's mandate. Interestingly, Parker revealed that Continua is considering the television set-top box as one potential hub for wireless health devices.
Continua is an organization created as a non-profit, open industry alliance that is working to create interoperability for connecting personal health monitoring devices. The end goal is to create an "ecosystem for health and fitness" devices, Parker said.
Worldwide there are about one billion adults overweight right now and 860 million people with chronic diseases, Parker said. About 600 million are 60 years old or older, he said.
Our current healthcare system does not help us maintain health moving forward, Parker explained, it doesn't allow us to track healthy lifestyles. Besides those with chronic conditions and the elderly, Continua wants to help "the worried well" keep track of their lifestyle choices and basic biometric data like: weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, cholesterol, activity levels and vital signs.
In the future, Continua hopes to enable the extension of healthcare into the home where initial triage of non-emergency conditions could take place and could be supported by images, email, chat and video.
"Most decisions about your health are based on one visit per year to your doctor," Parker said. "When it comes to managing chronic diseases it's much more effective to have those consultations from the home. That's also true for some acute illnesses -- the temporary ones -- like post operative activities. If we move care beyond the four walls of the facility we can also make it less expensive."
Continua's wireless devices will be based on the Bluetooth industry standard for medical devices. Parker said there are already 60 million devices with (some flavor) of Bluetooth.