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Information Technology

The major players

A number of leading communications and high-tech companies are already dedicating core assets and capabilities to solving some of healthcare’s most pressing problems. For example, Microsoft’s HealthVault gives consumers access to more than 140 health-related apps and connects to 226 different kinds of medical devices, from blood pressure monitors to glucose meters. It also enables users to upload their medical images, including X-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds.

HealthVault offers a wide array of solutions under one umbrella, including everything from wellness apps to chronic disease management plans. Meanwhile, technology company Verizon has repurposed its cloud and mobility capabilities to launch an FDA-approved remote patient-monitoring solution.

Its Converged Health

Management platform enables patients to use biometric devices to automatically transmit patient data through a wireless connection to a secure server that resides in Verizon’s HIPAA-ready cloud.

AT&T has developed technology that gives medical professionals instant access to review patient diagnostic images, enabling radiologists to see more patients, reduce their long-term technology costs and thus boost profitability. The solution also allows hospital networks to manage medical images centrally and collaborate efficiently

with radiologists.

Communications hardware provider Qualcomm offers Qualcomm Life, based on its FDA-listed 2net hub and platform. With this solution, users can capture biometric data and deliver it to designated portals, sharing medical data across a wide spectrum of care situations. Likewise, Cisco HealthPresence software enables providers to deliver care to distant patients by integrating high-definition video, advanced audio, third-party medical devices and collaboration tools.

Similarly, a number of startups are maneuvering to upend healthcare business models by delivering physical solutions directly to patients. VGo Communications, for example, has developed a robotic telepresence solution with remote-controlled mobility capabilities. The robot acts as a physician’s avatar, enabling doctors to make virtual patient rounds across multiple sites without really being there.

In other cases, a variety of smartphone apps and wearable recording devices powered by sophisticated communications and advanced health analytics work behind the scenes to assess whether users require medical



other institutions, physicians and

A vairiety of smartphone apps and wearable decording devices work behind the scenes to assess whether user require medical intervention.

intervention. For example, employs predictive models developed by the MIT Media Lab to catch subtle changes in an individual’s behavior via apps on his or her mobile phone. The technology enables doctors to assess the patient’s physical and mental well-being, predict potential future issues and, if necessary, reach out to him or her for treatment.

Barriers to innovation

Every industry has unique requirements and challenges, but healthcare’s many regulations and multiple stakeholders can make it an uncommonly hard nut to crack. And that distinction can be challenging for communications and high-tech companies as they attempt to deploy their service delivery and network technologies in pursuit of healthcare innovation.

Developing effective health solutions will pose a variety of significant challenges. Here are three of the biggest.

Rapid integration. The list of digital healthcare solutions that require seamless and rapid integration is long and growing. It includes everything from connected electronic medical records to high-speed Internet devices to gaming-based gateways. Other essentials involve core IT infrastructure components like the cloud and security, along with mobile biometric devices and advanced analytics.

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