OnQ Blog

Qualcomm’s Health Center Launches its First Wireless Diabetes Management Program

Aug 14, 2012

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Qualcomm is taking another leap forward in advancing our wireless health efforts by launching our first wireless health patient program right here at Qualcomm’s San Diego on-campus Health Center.

The first stage of this program will tackle diabetes - a disease that affects more than 345 million people worldwide -beginning with a two-part, three- and sixth-month Diabetes Management Program that leverages Qualcomm Life’s 2net™ Hub and Platform. Twenty Qualcomm employees/patients will be using an Entra Health Systems Bluetooth®-enabled MyGlucoHealth blood glucose meter paired with the 2net Hub to wirelessly track and send their daily blood glucose readings directly into their employee electronic health record. The Qualcomm Health Center’s Diabetes Management team will then review the results and make recommendations on how patients can more successfully manage their blood sugar levels.

To ensure a positive experience for both employees/patients and the health care team, new clinical and technical workflows were jointly developed by Qualcomm Life, Qualcomm’s Global Employee Health Services, the Qualcomm Health Center and the Take Care Health/Walgreens teams.

Initial results of the pilot program are expected in about five months.

Qualcomm has envisioned wireless technologies enhancing health care for more than a decade. One of its first efforts was working with CardioNet to enable a wireless mobile data monitoring service for outpatient cardiac telemetry services. Our wireless health patient program marks the beginning of a truly wireless health clinic that dramatically enhances our chronic disease management services.

Beyond our health center, Qualcomm continues to experiment with the latest wireless health sensors, devices and apps. We have a dedicated Qualcomm Life team that is focused on enhancing medical device connectivity and biometric data management so that manufacturers and service providers can quickly create better wireless health solutions for those who need it. Recently, the team organized the executive Wireless Health Fitness Challenge to better understand the impact that social media and competition can have on health behavior.

Follow me at this blog and at @IleneKleinMD for updates on how our employees are doing.

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Your next health tracker might be your house

Dr. Berci Mesko (a.k.a. The Medical Futurist) is a geek physician with a Ph.D. in genomics, an Amazon top 100 author, and a technology consultant specializing in the future of healthcare and digital health. He tweets as @Berci. The views expressed are the author’s own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Qualcomm.

Picture this: Clara, a generally healthy 30-year-old, hasn’t been feeling great. She’s experiencing night sweats, grogginess, and unexplained weight loss. She isn’t the only one noticing these symptoms; her smart home caught on, too. A sleep-tracking mattress, smart scale, and digital mirror recorded the changes. As it turns out, the data from those devices might point to something more serious, so her smart home sends her an email telling her to go to the doctor.

This is the future of healthcare. Household objects — televisions, scales, fridges, mattresses, and more — will work together to paint a holistic picture of our health.

Ultimately, ultra-aware homes might touch every facet of personal healthcare. Connectivity will provide peace of mind to patients with chronic conditions who often live alone, tracking everything from medication compliance to activity and biometric data, such as weight and blood pressure. For people who are generally healthy — like our friend Clara — the smart devices in our homes will serve as an early warning system for illness and suggest lifestyle changes to improve wellness. Most importantly, our homes will automatically dial 9-1-1 in emergencies.

This distributed and seamless approach to personal health is a far cry from the wearables and mobile health devices we use today. Right now, data collection is largely limited to patients with chronic conditions, who might use doctor-recommended connected blood pressure cuffs, smart glucose monitors, or digital health apps. At the same time, without a medical background, there’s not a lot the average person can glean from all this data.

The first step in making health monitoring more universal is to tap into the growing network of smart sensors in our homes. In fact, elements of the future always-aware home already exist. For example, Google Nest products keep tabs on day-to-day movements, Kolibree toothbrushes help improve users’ oral hygiene, Beddit and Withings sensors convert mattresses into sleep monitors, and there are even chairs that record EKG readings. From here, we can easily imagine toilets with bio-sensing microchips, bathroom pipes that track water usage, and digital mirrors that measure basic vital signs.

Once whole-home sensor networks are in place, the next step is to integrate and manage this data privately and securely on a unified home-health platform and ecosystem. Like smart-home sensors, these technology platforms are already in development. Google, Apple, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and others are creating unified hardware and software hubs that can gather data from disparate smart-home devices and apps that can easily analyze it.

IBM Watson and similar machine-learning systems are able to decipher large, unstructured datasets, which will allow our homes to spot patterns in our habits that might indicate illness. If issues are small, doctors will be able to advise and treat patients via on-demand telemedicine services. And, perhaps one day, prescriptions and medical supplies may even be delivered by drones.

That’s not to say that smart-home-centered healthcare won’t come with its own set of challenges. Constant monitoring raises ethical and psychological questions, and wearable devices have taught us that individuals struggle to stick to the lifestyle changes the devices are intended to foster. Doctors will need to find ways to continually motivate patients to follow through on the prompts their smart homes deliver. What’s more, with the amount of personal information generated by these sensors, we’ll need HIPAA-like regulations to protect patient data. And, of course, users will need to opt into the home-health platform, rather than allow sensing to take place without their knowledge.

The homes of the future will be filled with dozens — perhaps hundreds one day — of sensors. The challenge will be to make sure we’re getting the most out of them and the data they collect, without interfering with our day-to-day lives. Ask yourself: If your home could spot a cold coming days in advance and offer advice to help fend it off, wouldn’t you want to know?

Jul 28, 2016


How wireless technology is being used to reduce cardiovascular disease deaths in China

Doctors Ren Nianbao and Xie Guangguo have worked at the Lang Mao Shan Clinic in rural China for 20 years. Approximately one-fifth of their patients suffer from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), one of the leading causes of death in China. In the past, the clinic relied on a conventional, 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to screen for CVDs. The large, cumbersome machine and lack of specialist care in rural areas makes it less likely that patients with risk of acute CVD are screened, diagnosed and treated properly.

To help Dr. Ren and Dr. Xie better serve their patients, Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Life Care Networks collaborated on the Wireless Heart Health program to deploy mobile broadband-enabled ECG-sensing smartphones to conduct quick and accurate heart screenings as well as to connect community health care providers to heart experts at the Life Care Networks Call Center in Beijing for consultation. It takes less than five minutes for specialists at the call center to send back diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Recently, I spoke on a panel at the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Metrics from the Ground Up 2016 conference in Washington, D.C. and presented this program as an example of how Wireless Reach uses monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to catalyze small and growing businesses. Diana Harbison, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s Office of Program Monitoring and Evaluation, also participated in the panel. Genevieve Edens, Impact Assessment Manager for ANDE, moderated the session.

Jul 21, 2016