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Qualcomm and Cambridge Consultants Collaborate on Vena Platform – The Blue Tooth Inhaler Gets Closer with Continua Health

Posted Jun 17 2010 10:08pm

By combining Cambridge Consultants’ Vena stack with Qualcomm's cellular modules, the new platform can implement standards selected by the Continua Health Alliance and increase the ability for patients to manage health and wellness anytime, anywhere. image I started following this technology back in May of 2009 so somewhat quietly behind the scenes of all the OMG news development continues on. 

The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners Healthcare which was recently in the news with creating “Healthrageous” is also being presented at their Connected Health Symposium in October in Boston.  

Just a quick question popped to mind here, as “Healthrageous” stated they were going to make the site fun for patients and is this part of the plan?   Read on and look at the portal information below to see what I am talking about. If I am reading this correctly they have an interest in the USB device that connects many other devices to report data to the portal.  One of the items in the portal makes compliance a “game” with comparing your doses taken with others who are using wireless devices (how exciting and fun-not). 

The reason I say “not” is that there’s just a glut of this type of software and devices coming online in some form or another and it is not fun, it’s a responsibility so we can be evaluated and in some cases “scored” for premiums dollars by insurance companies, I don’t care how the presentation is marketed, it is what it is. 

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“VenaHub is being launched in concert with the 6th annual Connected Health Symposium, presented by the Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare.  The Connected Health Symposium, entitled 'Up From Crisis: Overhauling Healthcare Information, Payment and Delivery in Extraordinary Times,'’ is being held from October 21st to 22nd in Boston, Mass.  The symposium will address how healthcare can 'have its renaissance when it moves beyond the hospital and clinic and into the day-to-day lives of patients and consumers.'”

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Williamson will participate in a discussion at the Connected Health symposium on Wednesday, October 21st in the Georgian room at the Park Plaza Hotel.  Entitled 'The Futurists'’, Williamson, a pioneer in the integration of wireless electronics into medical devices, will offer insights into the future of Connected Health, as health management continues to become more patient-centered, moving away from the hospital and towards the home.”

Cambridge Consultants and Qualcomm have teamed up on a new mobile health platform that improves the range and breadth of remote patient monitoring.   The Bluetooth™ Health Device Profile (HDP) sends medical data compatible with IEEE 11073 standards for compatible exchange of information.  Currently the blue tooth inhaler is still some what in the works but other devices are connected to the Vena platform and A&D Medical are one of their clients with blood pressure monitoring and weight scales.  You can view the portals below and see where the demonstrations are connected, to include Google Health. 

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This is the first portal and you can see the device connected here is the blue tooth inhaler and this represents a sample site called the Health Miles Club.  This looks real exciting as it looks like you can get free refills if you are compliant and vouchers too.  As you can see it’s all about compliance here with marketing refills and other incentives to get people involved.  Personally I think this is somewhat a bit annoying right now due to economic times with people having trouble getting their medications to have to somewhat “trap” individuals into this somewhat of a game portal to have to play along to get your medications.  Is this fun yet?

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Now, back to the Breathebook portal .  You can click on any of the images too by the way and go directly to the sample portals.  This shows all your statistics and God forbid this information to be shown or given to an insurance company to see that one was late or missed as they will run the algorithms to determine that you, as you were late or missed a dose created a health issue for yourself with their “data”.  We’re sorry Joe, but we are not covering that trip to the ER room as we have the data that you were late on inhaling twice, thus you created your problem.  Don’t think that would happen, it certainly would as we have a society that almost needs a 12 step program to break away from the analysis and data side of things to remember to be human now and then as we will have instances where we forget or perhaps lose the unit or something else along those lines, but the data could be used against you. 

I like all the new technology and what it can do for care, but realize full up and front that the algorithms to pay for care are alive and well and information as such will be stacked up against you perhaps even with further explanations that you were sent 3 text messages and 2 emails to substantiate their efforts to remind you, again anything to line up the data. 

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Now the next portal relates to clinical trials and probably the most useful and beneficial area here as data is needed so we can determine the effects of drugs and with a trial as a patient you know you need to be compliant and this is up front and not going into a gray area where the potential of an insurance company getting a hold of it is as much in jeopardy. 

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Last by not least is a connection to Google Health.  Right now the portal just takes you to the main Google Health page and most of us have seen that already.  If all the information goes to Google Health only where the patient is in control is ok, but lot of gray on going to other areas. 

Now below is the video and it was made in the UK so hold on to your hats at it will state that all the information is valuable to health insurance companies and it shows how the compliance information on when and how one inhales goes right into Google Health and the portals above.  All the people in the “circle” will want your data so they can make decisions and I bet you can almost feel that you didn’t know one inhale would feed so many areas of data and have so many centers waiting for it. 

That being said, here’s the press release below and with the way Health IT is being run today with throwing so much at the consumer at once, I have my reservations on the fact that this will be “fun” and am concerned over privacy issues when it comes to the “gray” areas of wellness and exactly who will get to see and analyze the information and how it will be managed for profits and compliance relative to insurance coverage.  If we didn’t have that element and we all knew that good care was at the bottom of all this, then it would be viewed in a much more favorable light by me. 

After watching the algorithms of health insurance take advantage over the years relative to consumer money, I have my suspicions on the design and implementation of all of this as the link above discusses data from “discrete external sources”, whatever those might be.  BD 

Press Release:

June 17, 2010 - Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology product design and development firm, today announced a new platform for enabling wireless image connectivity from a medical device to online health services, compliant to the Continua Health Alliance standard. It will be available for demonstration at the Continua Summer Summit & Plugfest 2010 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 16-18 2010. 

The new, low-cost platform is a combination of Qualcomm Incorporated's Wearable Mobile Device cellular module and Cambridge Consultants' Vena software stack. The platform enables the collection of data from Continua Certified™ devices over the Continua Personal Area Network (PAN) interface, and transmits this data over the Continua Wide Area Network (WAN) interface* to online health services. The Wearable Mobile Device module has dimensions of 21 x 22 x 4.5mm, enabling a Continua Application Hosting Device (AHD) to be built that provides a PAN-to-WAN bridge within a small highly portable footprint.

"Remote health data collection is an important part of future health services," commented Nick Vassilakis, business development consultant, Cambridge Consultants. "Our Vena software stack has been built to use emerging industry standards and enable the rapid development of compact and low-cost wireless health devices. By combining the Vena stack with Qualcomm's cellular modules, we can demonstrate how next generation health care services have the potential to evolve by using cellular networks."

Cambridge Consultants’ Vena wireless healthcare software stack, which implements the standards selected by the Continua Health Alliance, empowers patients to manage health and wellness anytime, anywhere. It embeds the Bluetooth™ Health Device Profile (HDP) optimized for the secure transport of medical data and the IEEE 11073 standards for compatible exchange of information between health devices. image

The Qualcomm Wearable Mobile Device 1X, 1X EV-DO and UMTS modules are industry-leading products that support a variety of 3G networks and provide integrated GPS, an accelerometer and Bluetooth technologies. With data and voice support, a standardized USB 2.0 interface and defined APIs and development kit, the modules provide unprecedented functionality and streamlined 3G connectivity for M2M and CE devices.

"Mobile technology will be at the core of future health care services," said Don Jones, Vice President of Life Sciences at Qualcomm. "The Wearable Mobile Device cellular module provides a powerful and compact platform for the development of new health care services and devices. Our collaboration with Cambridge Consultants illustrates some of the exciting possibilities in this market."

The publication of the Continua Health Alliance Version One Design Guidelines in 2009 paved the way for Continua members to develop compliant connected health products and services. The Continua Design Guidelines specify how to use existing standards to build interoperable personal health care solutions. The group’s version 1.5 Design Guidelines adds the definition of the WAN interface and also includes two further wireless technology standards for low power radios to enable new devices, additional use cases and extend the capabilities of the Continua Health Alliance ecosystem.

"The Continua Health Alliance Design guidelines ensure interoperability with a wide range of health and fitness devices," said Chuck Parker, Executive Director of Continua Health Alliance. "Cambridge Consultant’s demonstration of this new wireless device platform shows the powerful potential that technology provides for tackling a growing range of health problems."

* The WAN interface is defined in Continua Design Guidelines v1.5

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of over 300 engineers, designers, scientists and consultants, in offices in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA), Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, transport, energy, cleantech and wireless communications.

Throughout 2010, Cambridge Consultants celebrates its 50th year in business. Created by three Cambridge graduates in 1960, the company has grown into a leading technology business, renowned worldwide for its ability to solve technical problems and provide innovative, practical solutions to commercial issues. In 2009, the company was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. For more information visit: www.CambridgeConsultants.com

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, the European leader in innovation and high technology consulting. The Group’s 17,500 consultants, operating worldwide, cover the entire range of engineering specialties, including electronics, information technology, quality and organization. Altran offers its clients ongoing support throughout the innovation cycle, from technology watch, applied basic research and management consulting to industrial systems engineering and information systems. The Group provides services to most industries, including the automotive, aeronautics, space, life sciences and telecommunications sectors. Founded in 1982, Altran operates in 20 priority countries. In 2008, it generated a turnover of €1,650 million. For more information visit: www.altran.com

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