While Apple, Google and even Microsoft have grabbed mHealth headlines in the last several months, two tech giants with just as much street cred haven’t gotten as much attention of late.
Samsung and Qualcomm are already squarely targeting healthcare providers while the aforementioned IT stalwarts are, bluntly stated, just starting down that road.
Take Apple HealthKit, for instance. The most popular apps integrating with HealthKit include a calorie counter, step tracker and life coach, WebMD for the iPhone, instant heart rate monitor and Weight Watchers Mobile. Those are well and good, but when compared to Qualcomm 2net — a clinical healthcare and FDA-registered medical device platform targeted at high-risk patients — the benefits of Weight Watchers Mobile pale.
Let’s take a closer look at these platforms.
Qualcomm Life 2net
The Qualcomm Life 2net platform offers solutions primarily for transition to home care where patients still must be monitored, according to Rick Valencia, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life.
"We assume the user is the type of person who may not even have a cell phone," Valencia added.
The 2net device sits in the user's home, not unlike any Wi-Fi access point but with multiple radios built in, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a USB port. The hotspot creates a medical grid network with a secure medical grade connection, through which 2net can connect with a variety of third-party medical devices. The collected data is sent to the Qualcomm cloud over the cellular network.
"The medical healthcare provider tells us the format they need the data in and we send that data to that system," Valencia said.
While 2net is a data capture platform designed to collect data outside the hospital, transfering it back to the Qualcomm data warehouse and then sending it on to the customer system, Healthy Circles is the second component of Qualcomm's solution. It's designed to share records with a care team, which could include a dietitian, general practitioner waiting for biometric data or specialist in need of lab results.
"It's almost like Facebook in the sense anyone can be invited in, and being a cloud or software-as-a-service solution enables users to gain access through a Web link once the identity of the requester is approved,” Valencia said.
The Qualcomm solution does not provide analytics; rather, it offers decision support by using exception management where anomalies in the data (with the safe ranges provided by the healthcare team) are used to create alerts.
Last year, a 2013 Qualcomm Life collaborator Cystelcom enacted a year-long study in Spain using its mHealthAlert platform and Qualcomm Life’s 2net hub to monitor 30 COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) patients. mHealthAlert is a platform designed to improve telemonitoring for elderly and chronic patients in their own homes. The use of this monitoring device, with the 2net Hub to deliver readings to the care team, resulted in a 69 percent reduction in hospital readmission rates, a 34 percent reduction in emergency entries and 30 percent reduction in length of hospital stays, according to officials. Consistent telemonitoring was also shown to reduce overall healthcare costs.
Samsung is attempting to bring clarity to the muddy area between fitness, health and wellness and clinical apps with its Samsung Health Initiative, and it's looking to make mobile technology relevant to physicians, hospitals, payers and patients.