We have data about everything. Companies, financials and potentially almost all social media interaction. One potentially very big area where innovation is existing, but less visible is healthcare. Here, most devices producing reliable (medical) data are still only found in the doctor's office or a hospital. This might be influenced by the need to have reliable data to cure people, not something that needs to measured anywhere else.
However, there are certain illnesses where constant monitoring is very important and helpful. For instance: Diabetics. Here, having a clear indication whether the treatment affects the level of blood sugar as intended is key.
Telcare: US startup introduces novel device for diabetes
Walter Mossberg, famed technology editor of the Wall Street Journal recently tested a new device which is produced by a small start-up named Telcare and will only come to the market now.
Different to existent devices this medical device, which looks like a PDA, "instantly transmit a patient's readings to a private online database, which can be accessed by the patient or - with permission - by a doctor, caregiver or family member."
Other features are visual charts providing an overview of trends in the patient's health. The data can be accessed via the web and even with an iPhone, if needed. Furthermore, the device aggregates the data into recommendations or indicates when a call to the doctor is needed.
To cut it short: Mossberg, who has Diabetes himself, liked the concept and the device. He mainly critized a relatively high price ($150 compared to about $50 for older diabetes testers with much less features).
In general, if Mossberg has a positive verdict, this leaves a mark on the product and service as well as generating new activities in such a space in the future.
(See the whole article here: Walter Mossberg: Diabetic Tester That Talks to iPhones and Doctors, Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2012
Implications for Healthcare clouds?
While much could potentially be gained using data collection and data analysis in healthcare wich would inevitably lead to cloud storage, the problems resulting in relatively slow adoption are often non-technical.
Patients worry about their personal health data and often, full access of the data is not provided to patients because doctors and hospitals that run the tests would argue, that this is their data, not the patients'.
Prediction: Use of smart devices will spread and evolve
There are always periods of time when it is really hard to think of something compellingly new. Especially when there was a wave of successful new things and services, everybody needs time to understand and implement. In the smartphone sector and consumer IT we are coping with an overabundance of potential, right now. One unwanted side effect is that in these periods it seems like all the innovation one could think of is already there (which is never true).
This new device shows: It is possible to come up with better, more appealing concepts. Whether it is already time for an uptick in digital healthcare and data storage for analysis remains to be seen.