Qualcomm Subsidiary Focuses on Mobile Medical Data

Cloud-based platform helps healthcare organizations and medical device manufacturers deliver timely patient info to docs' smartphones and tablets.

Nicole Lewis, Contributor

December 8, 2011

4 Min Read

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In an effort to expand its relationships in the healthcare sector, Qualcomm Inc. announced this week the formation of a wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Life Inc., and launched the unit's first product, the 2net platform and hub, which is a cloud-based service that physicians and other clinicians can use to transfer, store, convert, and display clinical data on medical devices.

Qualcomm officials have described the 2net platform and hub as an interoperable ecosystem of medical devices, mobile medical applications, and health services companies, and officials say they expect that the shift hospitals are undergoing from paper charts to electronic health records (EHRs) will further advance the adoption of the new service.

"The 2net Platform will make it very easy to integrate mobile health devices and in-home health devices to EHRs, alleviating the need for EHR companies to integrate each manufacturer's device," Don Jones, vice president of global strategy and market development for Qualcomm Life, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

Jones also said Qualcomm Life's offering will provide the necessary technology to support many of the healthcare models that are being developed as a result of healthcare reform. Jones gave three examples of healthcare models that the 2net platform can further:

- The Accountable Care Organization. This model relies on tightly managed care and therapy and the introduction of self-management to the patient populations. These tasks can be easily facilitated by the 2net platform and hub and the partner's solutions.

- The Health Information Exchange (HIE) model. The patient's medical device data can be stored in the cloud, with the patient's permission, and thereby shared with multiple healthcare organizations connected by an HIE.

[ Read how mobile health IT is being used to combat specific diseases in How Mobile Tech Can Fight War On Diabetes. ]

- The patient-centered medical-home model of care. This customer-service model helps achieve better patient outcomes because it enhances the coordination of patient info with health services. 2net can serve as an extension of the model because it collects patients' health information, which can be accessed by providers and caregivers on their mobile devices anywhere and anytime.

The 2net platform allows patient data to be accessed from a medical device through several gateways, including the 2net hub, a mobile phone, another cellular-enabled device, or application programming interfaces that connect to the customer-service platform. Once the data is retrieved from the medical device, it is encrypted and then stored in the 2net platform over a cellular connection. From there, the 2net platform transfers the patient medical device data to the manufacturers' interface of choice for the end-user. For example, 2net customer AirStrip Technologies uses the 2net platform to take medical device data from hospital monitoring systems and transmit it to doctors' tablets and smartphones.

Qualcomm officials said the platform meets the security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Additionally, the 2net platform and hub are individually listed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Medical Device Data Systems (MDDS).

"Qualcomm Life's 2net platform will expand our ability to connect patients with caregivers, family, and clinicians by providing a direct wireless connection within every home," Richard Strobridge, chief executive officer of Entra Health Systems, said in a statement. "Integration with the 2net ecosystem will open up new markets for MyGlucoHealth wireless blood glucose meter and diabetes management system within senior care, home health care, and assisted living where patients have limited access to wireless technology."

Qualcomm also introduced the Qualcomm Life Fund, which currently has $100 million to invest in the acceleration of wireless health services and technology adoption. The Qualcomm Life Fund will be part of the existing allocation for Qualcomm Ventures, but will focus specifically on wireless health business initiatives. Qualcomm officials said investments from the Qualcomm Life Fund will target a variety of areas including biosensors or devices for vertically focused applications such as chronic disease care, medication compliance, and fitness or wellness, and integrated system providers that provide remote diagnosis or monitoring, or that specialize in independent living. Life Fund will also invest in software health IT applications, and health-related informatics and analytics.

Five wireless health companies already have received investments from Qualcomm Ventures' Life Fund, including Sotera Wireless, Telcare, AliveCor, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, and WorkSmart Labs.

When are emerging technologies ready for clinical use? In the new issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, find out how three promising innovations--personalized medicine, clinical analytics, and natural language processing--show the trade-offs. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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