I was conducting some research in preparation for the upcoming ATA 2012 show, the annual meeting and exhibition put on by the American Telemedicine Association, and I came across an interesting story that reflects many of the same feelings we have about the evolving role for telemedicine in everyday life.
At the National Zoo in Washington, DC, veterinarians are trying to solve the mystery as to why heart disease is such a common cause of death among great apes in human care. To do it, they are gathering data from active heart monitoring devices implanted in gorillas.
What’s particularly interesting here is that the researchers are able to track cardiac function without subjecting the animals to repeated rounds of general anesthesia. The device simply gathers data continuously for periodic electronic download.
The implications for wellness management are transformational. Consider the quality of life improvements for the heart patient who doesn’t have to go to the doctor every week for a check-up; or the diabetes patient who can be continuously notified of blood glucose levels; or the sleep apnea sufferer whose device adapts breath-by-breath to always deliver the most comfort and restful sleep.
But more importantly, this highlights a major misconception of what telehealth really is. When one thinks of wellness management, one likely thinks first of some cool application on his or her Android or iPhone that will record heart rates while exercising or track the number of steps taken in a day. All well and good, but I don’t think United Healthcare is going to be comfortable relying on a Smartphone to gather heart monitoring information for a patient at risk for heart disease. For this, the opportunity for M2M-enabled, purpose-built, wellness management services has never been higher.
ATA 2012 will be exploring these opportunities, from the new healthcare models to the latest technologies. Check back here for our recap of the event.
By Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing
Stein leads a team whose responsibility is to own the branding, advertising, customer engagement, loyalty, partnership and public relations initiatives designed to propel KORE into the 21st century. With over 15 years of technology marketing experience in the business to business software, Internet services and telecommunications industries, Stein brings a proven track record of launching successful MVNOs and building those brands into leaders.