AT&T, WellDoc Ink Telehealth Partnership - InformationWeek

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10/15/2010
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AT&T, WellDoc Ink Telehealth Partnership

The deal marks the telecom's first foray into selling an end-to-end mobile healthcare technology.

Slideshow: RFID In Healthcare
Slideshow: RFID In Healthcare
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AT&T and WellDoc, a telehealth company that develops devices that monitor patients with chronic diseases, have announced a strategic alliance to market and sell WellDoc's mobile health (mHealth) solution nationwide to health delivery organizations, including health insurance companies, self-insured employers, and disease management organizations. The deal marks the first time that AT&T will be selling an end-to-end application and solution focused on healthcare.

Announced Wednesday, the partnership is part of AT&T's strategy to extend its core communications capabilities to provide mHealth solutions. Operationally, AT&T will expand and scale WellDoc's DiabetesManager System by utilizing AT&T's wireless technology, providing application hosting, and creating a highly secure infrastructure to host critical health data. Commercially, AT&T will also support the solution with sales and marketing, customer care, provisioning, and billing.

The DiabetesManager System supports medication adherence and provides for the capture, storage, and real-time transmission of blood glucose data and other diabetes self-management information by utilizing mobile phones and the Internet. The medical data generated is analyzed by WellDoc's proprietary automated analytics system, which identifies trends and delivers relevant educational and behavioral patient coaching and provider decision support.

"This is the first time that we will be selling an end-to-end application and solution focused on healthcare. What we have done up to this date is resold those line-of-business type of applications like eCardio or AirStrip," Randall Porter, assistant VP of healthcare solutions for AT&T told InformationWeek. "Not only is the WellDoc solution hosted within our infrastructure, but we will provide the mobility expertise with the devices and the management and then we also move into the sales, marketing, customer care, the provisioning, and the billing as well."

Porter said the combination of AT&T's mobility, cloud, and networking technology with WellDoc's clinical application provides many AT&T customers in the healthcare industry with the kind of technology solution they are asking for. He also noted that one of the most important things from a mHealth strategy is that WellDoc's solutions can be supported on any wireless network and over any device.

Looking ahead, AT&T said as other WellDoc technologies, including its heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and oncology management systems, gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Premarket Notification, or 510(k), clearance, AT&T will develop similar business deals for those systems.

Additionally, AT&T is planning an internal initiative next year to use the WellDoc DiabetesManager System to monitor and manage approximately 200 to 300 of its employees who have diabetes.

According to Dr. Anand Iyer, president and COO of WellDoc, there are several factors that have led to AT&T's decision to choose the DiabetesManager System, including clinical trials that show improvements in patient outcomes and cost reductions. The WellDoc DiabetesManager System received FDA 510(k) clearance to market the product in August.

Iyer is also optimistic that potential customers will be confident in AT&T's ability to provide the right technology as they weigh security and accessibility issues.

"People are going to look at these systems and ask 'can I access it from within my enterprise? Is it secure? Is the hosting infrastructure encrypted?' These are highly critical elements that will make or break a deal with the health payer or self insured employer. AT&T and WellDoc are bringing together the necessary factors for success," Iyer said.

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