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Remote Monitoring News

Qualcomm-Philips Deal Looks to Make mHealth Reliable

The partnership between two major digital health companies pledges medical grade connectivity for remote patient monitoring platforms, devices and apps.

By Eric Wicklund

- Two of the bigger players in the remote patient monitoring sandbox have forged a partnership that might make healthcare providers sit up and take notice.

Qualcomm Life has announced that its 2net hub will provide medical-grade device connectivity for Royal Philips’ HealthSuite platform. The deal gives Philips’ RPM programs a secure wireless link to clinical platforms, while Qualcomm Life clients can tie into the HealthSuite ecosystem to scale up their own tools and services.

“As the home is fast becoming a viable care setting, care providers, home health agencies and other institutions are increasingly using connected care to reduce emergency care, readmissions of patients with chronic diseases,” Jeroen Tas, CEO of Philips’ connected care and health informatics business, said in a press release. “By collaborating with Qualcomm Life and leveraging its connectivity and wireless expertise, we aim to help care providers to engage better with their patients and contribute to the goal of improving outcomes. Patient self-management combined with 24/7 connectivity to a care network is an emerging model that enables scalable chronic disease management for patients and providers.”

The news follows Philips’ rollout last month of a suite of digital health and wellness devices, including a thermometer, blood pressure monitor and smartwatch. By linking to the 2net hub, those devices will be able to transmit data back to healthcare providers without any effort from the patient.

The partnership addresses a much-discussed barrier to clinical adoption of consumer-facing health and wellness devices, like smartwatches and fitness bands: the reliability of data coming from these devices.

Qualcomm Life executives have pointed out that those types of wearables haven’t yet been clinically validated, so the healthcare industry hasn’t taken much interest in them yet. Pairing a clinical platform like HealthSuite with medical-grade connectivity in 2net, they argue, would give providers more confidence that the data coming from these devices is accurate.

“(I)f you're going to make life-and-death decisions, you're going to want to use a medical grade solution,” James Mault, Qualcomm Life’s chief medical officer, pointed out in a 2015 interview.

Likewise, with its new line of consumer-facing health devices, Philips is looking to connect the dots between the home health market and the provider market. They – like so many others – just need that validation from healthcare, so that clinicians will accept the devices and recommend them to their patients.

"As long as tech companies view wearables and apps as consumer-driven markets, these products will remain a fad," MedPanel President Jason LaBonte, who surveyed physicians on their attitudes toward consumer health and fitness wearables, said in a June 2015 interview in "But if they engage physicians to recommend these products, wearables and apps will be viewed as part of healthcare and become permanent fixtures."

Dig Deeper:

An mHealth Dilemma: Can Wearables Generate Medical-Grade Data?

Explaining the Basics of the Internet of Things for Healthcare


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