CTIA interviews: AirStrip; BlackBerry; MedApps

By Brian Dolan

As part of the CTIA Wireless IT&E event's focus on wireless health in San Diego earlier this month, CTIA published a number of video and audio interviews with wireless health industry luminaries on their event site today. Among the interviewees: BlackBerry, Gold's Gym, AirStrip Technologies and MedApps. Read on for brief summaries and pull quotes from the interviews.

AirStrip Technologies

Dr. Cameron Powell, an obstetrician, is also president and co-founder of AirStrip Technologies.

"It's a well-known fact in this country that communication errors are the number one cause of patient injury in a hospital," Powell said. "Paying attention generally involves a visual experience, actually looking at data to make a decision... [a lot of the data transmitted within a hospital] is presented as wave form data. At AirStrip we deliver this wave form data any time and any where."

AirStrip OB is FDA cleared on a whole host of mobile devices as is our platform, which has enabled the company to have deployments across the country with some very large hospitals. The company said it is in the process of "very rapidly" rolling out a broader remote patient monitoring platform that includes modules for critical care, cardiology, real time alerts and notifications and all those solutions are being built off the AirStrip platform, Powell said.

Research In Motion

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's Fraser Edward was on-hand at the CTIA Wireless IT&E event earlier this month and sat down with CTIA for a video interview to discuss BlackBerry's role in personal health.

"This is a market that we started to look at a high level at about four years ago when we started investing in the various people to focus in on," Edward said during the interview. "The provider -- the doctors or nurses [were our initial focus] and giving them the collaboration tools they needed has now very much evolved beyond them to the patient population as a whole."

Edward touted the BlackBerry platform for its security and therefore privacy controls over other smartphone platforms for wireless health and he also wondered whether the mobile could evolve beyond a "sports coach" with fitness apps to a "life coach" that helps users manage their health and well-being.

For providers, Edward noted that smartphone offerings have really evolved from the one-time "gold standard" Palm Pilot to the smartphone that enables greater collaboration. No need for pagers -- the smartphone can do that. While doctors may not want to analyze images on their handheld devices, they can use those images as a quick reference to help them prioritize their days. Smartphones are not the only device that physicians and nurses will use, Edward said, but mobile is key because it the platform will save everyone time.

Gold's Gym

Jeremy Lowell, owner of several Gold's Gym franchises became interested in wireless health when he saw a "totally awesome" wireless monitoring device that freed patients from having to wear a clunky Holter monitor machine around their waists. Lowell had seen a couple of his customers with Holter monitors in the past. When it comes to fitness devices, however, Lowell doesn't believe there is a lot of vital sign tracking devices out there right now.

"I don't think [the mHealth industry] will look anything like it does now," Lowell said. "There will be so much advancement and we will be creating jobs for people who are in school right now who don't even realize what they are studying for. It's just going to be booming in the next five years."


MedApps CEO Kent Dicks sat down with CTIA to discuss wireless health trends:

Healthcare reform needs to enable innovation not just elimination of healthcare costs, Dicks said. MedApps offers a device that is dedicated to delivering health information. Dicks said that when using a dedicated device, the company is able to connect with seniors who are not used to using mobile phones and may not feel comfortable using a mobile phone. MedApps does not require any actions on the patients' part -- it's hands-free and automatic.

Commonly people or organizers will go out and create applications for the mobile phone, but typically these apps are being developed for people who don't need it in the first place. MedApps is trying to get these solutions into those who actually need these solutions -- the senior population and the indigent population.

There will be a convergence between M2M technology in personal health devices and those designed for a segment of users. There will be more customizable solutions that allow interoperability between devices, health portals and so on. In the near future, we will see more and more devices on the shelves at CVS and Walgreens that are plug-and-play with each other because they are Continua compliant, Dicks said.

To watch the video interviews with these wireless health leaders, head over to the CTIA site here.

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