Moving Towards Integration of Medical Device DataBy Ellyn McMullin and Daniel R. Matlis
Currently, there is a lot of talk about the Internet of Everything.
To learn about the state of the “Internet of Medical Things,” we recently spoke with Rick Valencia, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Qualcomm Life, Inc. During our briefing, we focused the recently announced collaboration between Cerner and Qualcomm Life, aimed at extending medical device connectivity capabilities beyond the hospital to the home.
The intent of this alliance is to leverage technology to improve adherence and compliance by patients using medical monitoring upon leaving a care facility by creating a feedback loop. The Cerner platform integrates all medical devices in the hospital with data that flows to the patient’s EMR; now data from medical devices outside of the hospital can be integrated with the patient’s EMR. Qualcomm’s 2net™ Platform integrates medical devices outside the hospital with each other even though they may not be interoperable by design.
According to Rick Valencia, “A solution done right and done well – everyone benefits!” But to realize the benefits of this collaboration you have to bring together Medical Device manufacturers, hospitals, caregivers and patients.
How does this integration from hospital to home work?
Historically, healthcare has been disparate and disconnected with care teams – healthcare professionals across a variety of disciplines – having few mechanisms to communicate regarding treatment plans and patient status. This lack of efficient communication leads to potential redundancies and gaps in care. However, changing reimbursement models are enabling healthcare professionals to focus more on remote patient monitoring and chronic care management. Qualcomm Life’s chronic care management solution allows for seamless data capture when a patient is discharged from the hospital through our 2net technology. In the collaboration with Cerner, our 2net Platform securely transmits information through Cerner to the customer’s EMR system or clinicians monitoring to analyze data.
Qualcomm Life has been working directly with medical device manufacturers for years. Most devices released in the last 10 years have some type of radio device that is proprietary. Qualcomm Life’s 2net solution includes various gateways, the 2net Hub and 2net Mobile, that integrate with a broad ecosystem of connected medical devices, to ensure interoperability for all manufacturers. In the Cerner / Qualcomm Life collaboration, patients plug in the 2net Hub at home, which captures biometric data from medical devices and sends it to the cloud-based 2net Platform, which then transmits the data into the EMR. Qualcomm Life’s 2net is an FDA-listed Class I MDDS, with robust Cloud back end – providing a medical grade solution.
Do you work with each device manufacturer to get onboard with the platform?
Since Qualcomm Life has their own ecosystem of companies using the 2net Platform, there is no need for additional certification from collaborators. Qualcomm Life has developed secure communication protocols for integration and communication. Many device manufacturers are coming to Qualcomm Life regarding wireless technology for direction as they build their new models. In terms of data capturing, Cerner is not involved as the data is captured by Qualcomm Life at the onset. The device connects to and is qualified by the Qualcomm Life 2net Platform and then flows to Cerner.
What are some examples of devices used at home that could be hooked up to such a system?
Examples of devices that can be connected to the 2net Platform and are used to remotely monitor chronic care patients include, but not limited to, CPAP devices, glucose meters, ECG’s, blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, thermometers, etc. Qualcomm Life’s ecosystem is constantly changing and expanding to integrate more devices.
How is Cerner involved in the certification process?
Just like how a hospital’s patient information connects devices through Cerner products to EMRs, the data will now go over wireless networks instead of cable.
Where are you going with this? Can it be used for telemedicine?
It can absolutely be used for telemedicine. A nurse case manager can see a dashboard of biometrics and use that data to triage care. This in turn means that a nurse can help many more people in a given week. With the looming shortage of care providers and the increase of cost of care, the move from synchronous communication to asynchronous communication across a patient’s care team will have major impact. This process is not active patient monitoring but a continuous monitoring for trends as opposed to episodic care. The future is for more predictive behavior so that caregivers can intervene before situations become critical.
Besides monitoring info, how will Qualcomm Life know where the data comes from? Is there something like UDI that transmits with patient information?
In advance of UDI, a MAC address of the device, serial number, time of reading and diagnostic information about the device flows back to Qualcomm Life so they can determine if a device is working properly. Information retrieved from the device can also be integrated with a tablet or TV screen so that other patient related data can be manually added like surveys and questions.
What is the influence of Payers and Insurance companies?
While we have lived in a fee-for-service model for decades, we are transitioning to a fee-for-value model, where health systems are paid for outcomes and for keeping patients out of acute care settings. This transition is just beginning, so insurance companies can be resistant to spending more money for these perceived more expensive, connected solutions. No one wants to buy new devices especially at the early stages. Currently, the complexities of these early stage models, distribution and logistics of buying, maintenance and redistribution of medical devices is being handled by Qualcomm Life and its distribution partners, while the ROI and outcomes benefits for patients, caregivers, hospitals, and manufacturers as well as insurance companies are being established and published.
The Internet of Medical Things has arrived and it is brought to you by traditional “medical” players as well as technology giants like Apple and IBM