Wireless home healthcare: the wonder drug for our times?

29 Sep 2008

New research claims that some 50 million people in the EU and US could potentially benefit from wireless home healthcare monitoring solutions.

However, there are still very few commercial products that enable distance monitoring of medical equipment such as glucose level meters or blood pressure monitors via mobile networks.

The report identifies fundamentally different approaches to technology as one of the key explanations for why the healthcare and mobile industries have not yet found a good match.

“There is a wide gap between the technology used in the healthcare sector and the latest advances in telecom,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst, Berg Insight.

“The few telehealth solutions that do exist are not just one but often several generations behind in terms of technology.”

In order to pave the way for wireless solutions in healthcare, Berg Insight advises the mobile industry to explain that they fulfil all requirements on safety, data security and reliability in the healthcare sector, while at the same time delivering better performance at lower cost compared to legacy systems.

Mobile industry players must reach out to medical device manufacturers and caregivers to present solutions that allow them to take full advantage of the latest communication technology.

“The healthcare industry is perfectly right to have a cautious attitude towards new innovations before they are thoroughly tested. The first step towards a wireless revolution in home medical care needs to be to build confidence that the mobile network infrastructure is capable of even the most critical tasks,” Ryberg said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years