LAS VEGAS—CTIA Wireless 2009 attendees on Thursday heard about something they don’t usually hear during keynotes at the annual trade show: the role of wireless in healthcare.
Cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, director of Scripps Translational Science Institute and chief academic officerof Scripps Health, took the stage during the morning keynote to illustrate the impact of wireless technologies in healthcare.
In a later interview, Topol said converting medical records from paper to electronic will help the nation’s healthcare system, but it’s not going to be enough. “We have to come up with new solutions to healthcare,” and that’s where wireless comes in, he said.
In sessions and interviews yesterday, wireless healthcare solution advocates acknowledged that moving from a paper-based system to one that allows doctors to electronically keep tabs on patients and do so in such a way that is interoperable between healthcare providers is a monumental task. In the meantime, wireless solutions that help people take care of themselves, applications that remind people to take medications and other health-related solutions that can cut down the costs of healthcare can go a long way.
Earlier in the week, the San Diego-based Gary and Mary West Foundation committed $45 million to create the West Wireless Health Institute, a medical research organization dedicated to advancing health and well-being through wireless technologies. Scripps Health signed on as the founding healthcare affiliate, with Qualcomm as a founding sponsor.
The institute and its research team will conduct clinical research on solutions to better prevent, diagnose, manage and treat major health conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to obesity. Topol will serve on the board, along with Gary West, founder and chair of the Institute’s board, and Donald Jones, vice president of Health and Life Sciences at Qualcomm.
Thursday’s focus on healthcare came the same day that Intel and General Electric announced they are jointly investing $250 million over the next five years to develop personalized home healthcare devices.