A new partnership of medical device makers with the cell-phone industry is being sought, to allow doctors to remotely monitor their patients’ heart rhythms, body temperature and breathing rates, with the goal of saving billions in hospitalization costs. San Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute is set to announce that it has joined hands with Corventis Inc. to conduct the first of its kind clinical trial of a remote heart monitor. Corventis has a band-aid like patch that sends readings of patients’ heart through a wireless connection to the person’s smart phone, an i-phone or a Black Berry. Followed by transfer of data to doctor’s office. It alerts physicians if their patient show irregularities.
Other device makers are waiting in the wings for similar trials, hoping to win over the people who ultimately would pay for their products – doctors, private insurance companies, and the government. Since the new technology merges two traditionally disparate industries, the new methods pose some challenges. The Food and Drug Administration can assure that medical devices are measuring a person’s vital signs accurately, but it has no control over the wireless network that transmits that information. If the medical community is able to bestow their trust in wireless companies, they could be sitting on a brand new market for wireless medical devices.