The market for wireless and mobile phone based healthcare platforms will grow rapidly as health providers seek ways to drive down costs. According to a report published this week, by Cambridge UK based research company Wireless Healthcare, mobile communications platforms provide a relatively simple means of connecting diagnostic medical devices to the electronic medical records systems and advanced Health 2.0 based services being developed by companies such as Google and Revolution Health.
In the report, “Wireless eHealth Platforms”, Wireless Healthcare identifies two main types of platforms; those, such as BlueAid, which are being built from the ground up as healthcare communications platforms and others, such as IBM’s WebSphere, which are conventional ecommerce platforms that can be customised to support ehealth applications. The report notes that a number of IT vendors are keen to bring to the healthcare sector technologies and business processes that they have already used to increase efficiency and reduce costs within the financial services and travel industries.
Peter Kruger, Senior Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, points out: “While banks and airlines have managed to radically reduce costs by deploying technology that lets the customer carry out transactions online, healthcare providers have yet to realise similar savings by providing online heart monitoring and blood glucose checks. These types of services, which free up clinicians by automating routine tasks, are essential if we want recession-proof healthcare services”.
The report sees an important role for platforms that are flexible enough to allow medical devices that use a range of wireless standards, such as Bluetooth, 802.11 or ZigBee to communicate with a mobile phone or wireless healthcare hub. It also notes that the platform market will gain increased traction as search vendors and healthcare portals extend their health orientated services by adding support for mobile phone based consumer healthcare services, such a diet management and fitness monitoring. As Kruger notes, “We believe the market will be watching the forthcoming launch of Qualcomm’s ehealth platform, LifeComm, to see how effectively it links mobile phone based healthcare applications to next generation back office healthcare infrastructure”.