Sprint’s open approach, network flexibility and proven execution reduces costs, extends accessibility and enhances overall effectiveness of health care
How does a wireless carrier make health care delivery more cost efficient and patient friendly? By enabling mobile applications and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Sprint is on the forefront of telemedicine. The driver of Sprint’s innovation is its “open” strategy, providing opportunities for developers to create innovative applications and solutions for the medical community. It also encourages third-party development, streamlines the process of certifying a product on the network and increases the speed a company can get its product to market.
Rather than dictating what developers can do on the Sprint network, Sprint makes available application programming interfaces (API’s) that allow businesses to develop wireless solutions and applications that take advantage of capabilities at the network, IT, service and device level. Sprint has moved beyond the idea that “as a carrier we know best” and instead focuses on leveraging its assets to drive innovation to the market.
“The Sprint Emerging Solutions Group is all about open development,” said Wayne Ward, vice president-Sprint Emerging Solutions Group. “The developer community has told us they thrive in an environment that accelerates their speed to market with simple, unencumbered access to our full complement of network capabilities. Considering that they are delivering wireless applications for the purpose of enhancing the health and well-being of all Americans—and potentially saving lives—Sprint is only too willing to invest in technology and processes that foster innovation.”
Sprint Partners are Improving Patient Care
Sprint’s open approach has attracted the attention of many entrepreneurial health care companies who understand that chronically ill patients recover faster and are more comfortable at home than in a hospital and that telemedicine has the potential to improve quality of life. Two such companies are American TeleCare and Reflection Solutions.
Powered by Sprint 3G and 4G, American TeleCare, Inc. (ATI) provides solutions to enhance key health care customer applications in clinic-to-clinic and clinic-to-home settings. ATI uses a world-class remote stethoscope at 9.6 Kbps in clinic-to-patient home settings and a sophisticated, leading interactive video technology to access more patients at lower bandwidths.
ATI was the first company to market a video solution over wireless and plans for rapid expansion into hospitals to dramatically decrease costs for 30-day re-admissions. Sprint and ATI are also collaborating on connectivity solutions in patient’s homes to ensure top-notch care, a higher quality of life for chronically ill patients and reduced overall health care costs for their treatment.
Reflection Solutions offers a unique product called “Reflection powered by AFrame Digital” which provides wireless personal health monitoring. It includes a device designed to be worn and function as a wristwatch to wirelessly connect patients and their caregivers. The “watch” monitors the patients’ health and physical activity, and provides instability and fall detection. It also has a traditional PERs panic button and can even automatically send an alert in the event of a fall, even if the user is unable to activate the PERs button. Boosted by the power of the Sprint networks, Reflection powered by AFrame Digital extends meaningful care beyond traditional limitations, working in conjunction with the caregivers’ mobile phones and PDAs, so they remain in touch and will be alerted even when they are on the go.
Reflection, a founding partner in the Sprint M2M Collaboration Center, was recently named in the Health and Wellness enterprise and vertical market category of CTIA’s Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards.
Taking a Collaborative Approach
Sprint is successfully partnering with health care and wireless companies by sharing its network and expertise in embedded mobile computing and M2M communications. This arrangement allows Sprint’s health care partners to offer a wireless solution while focusing on its core competencies. Those companies include:
AirStrip Technologies has developed one-of-a-kind remote patient monitoring applications that deliver real-time vital waveform and other critical patient data directly from hospital monitoring systems to mobile devices to let providers continually monitor vital signs from wherever they are.
BodyMedia provides a holistic weight-management system consisting of an armband monitor, online activity manager, optional display and free smartphone apps. It automatically tracks the calories burned during daily activities and even monitors the quality of sleep. In April, the companies launched the Sprint BodyMedia ID pack, a customized bundle of widgets, applications, wallpapers, ringtones and wellness content for selected Sprint smartphones.
Calgary Scientific has developed an application called ResolutionMD Mobile powered by PureWeb which provides advanced visualization of critical medical images (MRIs, CAT scans) directly on Sprint devices, such as the HTC EVO 4G and Samsung Epic 4G. Attending or acute care physicians can have real-time access to specialists such as neurologists, regardless of where the physicians and patients are located.
IDEAL LIFE manufactures in-home health monitoring equipment for individuals with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and obesity. The system can work wirelessly using the Nationwide Sprint Network to transmit medical data to health care providers to support diagnosis and general monitoring. IDEAL LIFE products are FDA approved for over-the-counter sales and HIPAA compliant for patient confidentiality.
Omnilink tracks individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. With Omnilink, Sprint ensures family and friends are well-cared for even while away from a doctor’s office or care facility.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
To meet the demand for developer support and network certification, Sprint recently opened an M2M Collaboration Center in Burlingame, Calif. The center is a hands-on, interactive environment where ideas, knowledge and technology unite to produce wirelessly enabled M2M concepts, products and solutions. Engineers from Sprint and their solution partners team up to rapidly bring new M2M ideas to the marketplace that can improve people’s health and wellness. In addition, Sprint holds an annual developers’ conference each fall in California. Developers gather to hear from Sprint executives, industry leaders and session experts to gain valuable insight into the next evolution in the wireless data industry.
The Case for Telemedicine is Clear
The prescription for improving health care includes bringing the industry up to date with current technology. Statistics from the Health Research Institute suggests that telemedicine has the potential to support significant numbers of people with remote monitoring, leading to reduced costs, extended accessibility and enhanced overall effectiveness.
If doctors use wireless applications to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity, the annual savings could amount to approximately $21B due to a reduction in hospitalization and nursing home costs.
88 percent of physicians would like their patients to be able to monitor their health on their own.
During a two-year study by the Health Research Institute, e-visits were able to replace in-office visits in 40 percent of the 2,531 cases.
As a demonstration of their commitment to the development of telemedicine as a health care delivery channel, Sprint is a Sustaining President’s Circle member of the American Telemedicine Association.