AirStrip diversifies: Hospital, home, military, and abroad

By Brian Dolan

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsFew companies working in mobile health have made more news in recent days than AirStrip Technologies. Two weeks ago the remote monitoring app company announced an investment from Qualcomm Life Fund. A week later it announced an investment from HCA and plans to expand its deployment of AirStrip Cardiology throughout that health system's hospitals. This week AirStrip announced an anticipated deal with Diversinet (AirStrip's CEO Alan Portela sits on Diversinet's board), and it also expanded its partnership with GE Healthcare by rolling out a new iPhone and iPad offering, called AirStrip Patient Monitoring.

A few years ago only about 70,000 hospital beds were being monitored, AirStrip's EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Bruce Brandes said during an interview at HIMSS. Today it's closer to 300,000, he said. In a few years time nearly all hospital beds will be monitored. Apps that enable care providers to keep tabs on all those monitors will be increasingly crucial, especially in the face of the other macro trend -- the care provider shortage.

AirStrip Patient Monitoring provides clinicians with near real-time data and historical patient information up to 24 hours ago. The mobile health app works with any GE patient monitors and is connected via GE's Carescape Gateway, which integrates biomedical devices with hospital information systems. The entire offering enables physicians to access patient waveforms, vital signs and other critical clinical measurements on their iPad and iPhone. While AirStrip inked an exclusive deal with GE to distribute its AirStrip Cardiology offering last year, the deal with GE to distribute AirStrip Patient Monitoring is not exclusive. Update: Brandes said that since not every hospital has a relationship with GE, those can work directly with AirStrip's sales team and set the apps up to pull data from most any monitor.

Brandes showed me a beta version of an AirStrip app that had about a dozen patient vital signs streaming in near real-time on his iPad. Given the trend toward more monitored beds, an app like that will become increasingly useful. It'd already be of use to nurses or anesthesiologists.

AirStrip's apps and GE Healthcare's monitors track patients throughout the continuum of care: from the time they get into the ambulance until they are discharged, GE Healthcare's General Manager of IT/Wireless Sales and Marketing for Patient Care Solutions, Rudy Watkins said during an interview. That could change, however. Given the Qualcomm Life Fund recent investment in the company and AirStrip's plans to integrate with the Qualcomm 2net platform, in the not too distant future AirStrip could be following patients after discharge, too.

The company has other more immediate plans first, however. AirStrip and GE plan to begin offering their patient monitoring tools in Europe soon thanks to the CE Mark AirStrip acquired last year. For all of its current offerings, AirStrip has tapped GE as its exclusive distributor outside the US.

Stateside, AirStrip is also planning to enter a new market thanks to its recently announced deal with mobile security specialist Diversinet. By leveraging Diversinet's Mobisecure authentication and encryption, AirStrip will be able to offer its wares to the US government for use in military hospitals or for use in the field.

To sum up, thanks to its deals with GE, AirStrip is increasingly at the patient's bedside. The Qualcomm deal could enable it to remote monitor patients at home. Diversinet's FIPS level security is bringing it to the military. With a CE Mark secured, it's also set its sights on Europe alongside GE.

Big moves this month for the company widely credited for offering the very first FDA-cleared mobile medical app.

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