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8/4/2009
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Can At-Home Patient Monitoring Boost Health, Cut Costs?

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that widespread adoption of e-medical record systems will save the U.S. about $12 billion over 10 years. But other health related IT tools--especially web-enabled devices used to monitor chronically ill patients at home--could eventually boost those cost savings higher.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that widespread adoption of e-medical record systems will save the U.S. about $12 billion over 10 years. But other health related IT tools--especially web-enabled devices used to monitor chronically ill patients at home--could eventually boost those cost savings higher.Complications stemming from diabetes, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure and a host of other chronic conditions often to lead to scary and expensive trips to the ER and hospitalizations, especially for the elderly. And as millions of baby boomers age, health spending on those kinds of chronic-illness related complications is predicted to soar.

But the current push for healthcare providers to install electronic medical record systems in their organizations is good timing. It's setting up the stage for providers to also access and use data generated by the burgeoning availability of mobile monitoring devices--from digital glucose readers to wearable vital sign trackers-- for chronically ill patients to use at home or on-the-go to help manage their diseases.

Among those new patient-oriented, health-management tools are apps for the iPhone. My colleague Mitch Wagner will examine some of those in an upcoming story.

Have you or a loved one used any at-home devices for dealing with a chronic health problem? If so, how did you like them?

Tell us about it.

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