Sensors as well as communication ICs and microcontrollers provide the enabling technologies for several new innovations in healthcare. A Kalorama Information Dec. 1, 2010 report estimates that the global market for medical mobile apps hit $84.M in 2010, increasing more than 2X its 2009 level of $41M. This is just the downloadable software portion of the market enabled by wireless sensing.
In spite of the difficulties in obtaining medical approvals for hardware, some companies are making definite progress in applying these advanced technologies.
Proteus Biomedical has developed a U.S. FDA 510K cleared and European Union CE Mark-certified personal patch-based wearable sensors for continuous physiologic sensing and monitoring. Proteus’ personal monitoring technology uses multiple sensors to monitor parameters including heart rate, physical activity, and sleep patterns. The figure shows an example of the types of measurements and monitoring system the company has developed.
This is just one example of how the pace is accelerating for healthcare monitoring. Lifecomm, a mobile health and wellness venture of Hughes Telematics, Qualcomm’s Health & Life Sciences Division, and American Medical Alert are working together to launch a 3G personal emergency response service (PERS) at the end of 2011. Lifecomm’s solution will include motion sensors and automatically initiate a call for help in the event of a fall.