Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution

Pablo Valerio, International Business & IT Consultant | 10/3/2013 | 35 comments

Pablo Valerio
One of the factors keeping doctors from getting a complete picture of a patient's health condition is lack of patient cooperation. Patients are often advised by doctors to regularly record measurements such as glucose and blood pressure levels and chart their home and work readings, but compliance is really low.

According to Dr. Eric Topol, in his recent book The Creative Destruction of Medicine, "People usually get a yearly check-up where their blood pressure is taken, their heart is listened to, and a basic blood test is performed. But what happens between those tests?"

Three years ago, at TEDMED 2010 in San Diego, Walt Mossberg, the technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, who suffers from diabetes, said that all he wanted was a smartphone app that took care of glucose regulation, with a device that measures his sugar levels and adjusts insulin accordingly. Fortunately the medical devices industry is getting closer to that goal.

Smartphones are getting more sophisticated all the time, and they are getting more sensors embedded into them. Wireless healthcare really started in the last decade, in the fitness and health fields. Many apps use the sensors embedded in our smartphones to calculate the number of steps we take during the day, or display the duration of exercise, distance, velocity, and even the route taken. The combination of smartphone sensors, including the gyroscope and accelerometers, can be used to determine the user’s mood and detect when somebody falls, calling an emergency contact if the person doesn’t respond to the fall alert.

Now specific wireless sensors are coming to market. One is the AliveCor Heart Monitor, recently approved by the FDA as a prescription device -- it was being used before by veterinarians. The device attaches itself to a smartphone and is able to produce an accurate electrocardiogram when the patient touches the two sensors. The app is able to record the measurements and transmit them wirelessly to a doctor in real-time. This is invaluable for people with some heart conditions that need to have an ECG when symptoms occur; many times they fail to make it to the hospital in time, or they need to stay connected to an ECG machine for several days waiting for the symptoms to appear.

The Corvertis PiiX goes much further, continuously collecting health information including fluid status, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, posture, activity, and ECGs (when rhythm abnormalities are detected) while patients go about their daily activities.

Wearable technology is now making its appearance, and some smart watches, such as the Nissan Nismo, will be loaded with new sensors, able to monitor our heart rate, temperature, and other biometrics.

The FDA is cautious with these devices. The agency is concerned about patients acting on inaccurate data from the smartphone. But the powerful processors used by today's smartphones should minimize the concerns.

We are seeing new devices and applications being introduced every week. The smartphone has become the window to the world, and now is opening another window inside our bodies. Soon we’ll have sensors that can monitor our basic health indicators 24/7 and alert us -- or our doctors -- of any sudden problems. We need to prepare for that, and make sure people are informed and confident about the measurements, the security, and the privacy of information. And we need healthcare CIOs and doctors to prepare for a new flood of data that is going to change the way medicine is practiced. Will your healthcare institution be ready to go from not enough data to a flood of data practically overnight?

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Pablo Valerio   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   11/1/2013 7:26:42 AM
Re: Small Sensors
@Sara, Many insurance companies are beggining to cover the cost and usage fees of home devices. They realize that keeping patients under control is actually saving cost.

Another issue is telemedicine. I dicussed on another blog the resistance of doctors and healthcare providers to use it because of compensation. Doctors and hospitlas get paid for patient's visits, tests and procedures, not to keep them healthy. Until this situation changes personalized medicine and telemedicine has to wait 
User Ranking: Blogger
MDMConsult   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   11/1/2013 6:43:29 AM
Re: Smart phone maybe a doctors best friend
@Sara Yes, this is in reference to venture capital investment to the digital health market. The numbers have tripled in the past year for digital health.
Ariella   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/31/2013 5:32:12 PM
Re: Smart phone maybe a doctors best friend
@Sara Let us hope not! I don't use a microwave myself, but I'd think that they've been in use long enough to make it clear if they are really a health hazard or not.
Sara Peters   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/31/2013 4:43:44 PM
Re: Smart phone maybe a doctors best friend
@Ariella  Well said: "what seems strange at first becomes part of the normal routine over time." I was just thinking about that yesterday while talking on my cell phone and watching something warm up in my microwave. I wondered to myself if it was likely that I was actually going to get cancer from these items that people were once so afraid to use and now seem completely normal.

Sara Peters   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/31/2013 4:41:46 PM
Re: Small Sensors
@freespiritny  Great point, there. Anytime there is a new medical treatment or tool there is a lag time between when it exists to when insurance companies will actually cover it. If they don't, then wearable computing may not take off for medical use in the way we tech lovers might want it too.
Sara Peters   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/31/2013 4:39:08 PM
Re: Smart phone maybe a doctors best friend
@MDMConsult  Those are incredible investment increases that you're referencing: "Digital health investments for software rose 19 percent and digital health grew 45 percent." Just so I understand, are these investments made by healthcare companies or are these investments by investors on the stock/bond market?

SunitaT   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/25/2013 2:53:33 AM
Re : Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution
We were taught in school to have a check-up every six months. But with the costs of medicine constantly on the rise, the common man has always tried to evade this topic. Most doctors do advise on keeping in touch even after the treatment, but patients, as soon as they find themselves getting better, do the "i'm alright" gesture and never return to the doctor again. Smartphone Apps can bring about this change. Many phones come with gyro sensors, thermal sensors, infrared and whatnot. Incorporation of medical sensors can be revolutionary.
Anand   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/10/2013 6:27:16 AM
Re : Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution
At the same time it is not just a matter of time as LuFu said. It is partly true because people are always cautious moving on to some new method or technology, more so in case of health. We can't afford to launch some immature app or sensor in smart phones and let it fail people because it is directly connected to health and not just a fingerprint scanner.
Anand   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/10/2013 6:27:14 AM
Re : Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution
@ MZT, I am sure your trust issues with smart phones' health apps are not unfounded, but we can get over those trust gaps. Some kind of liaison between physicians and smart phone manufacturers could help solve these issues. Physicians can convey their concerns to manufacturers, who can in turn adjust the technology or sensors accordingly.
freespiritny25   Small Sensors Driving E-Health Revolution   10/7/2013 9:56:07 AM
Re: Small Sensors
Wearable technology is coming a long way. My only concern is the elderly patient who may not be as tech savy or may not even be able to see the small print on the device. Also- the cost- will insurance cover??
Page 1 / 4   >   >>

The blogs and comments posted on do not reflect the views of TechWeb,, or its sponsors., TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio   9/25/2013   21 comments
It's nearly impossible to do business anymore without access to huge amounts of data, whenever and wherever you want it. Yet cellular data roaming charges are pricey, WiFi spectrum is ...
Pablo Valerio   9/24/2013   20 comments
Aided by big-data and cloud computing, "personalized medicine" is enabling doctors and researchers to evaluate the potential of existing drugs in different individuals and make better ...
Pablo Valerio   8/28/2013   29 comments
A few weeks ago, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Union for the Digital Agenda, warned that American cloud companies could lose $35 billion because of the NSA spying scandal ...
Pablo Valerio   8/21/2013   39 comments
A new study by researchers from the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and NYU Stern School of Business shows that many people like or give positive ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
[email protected]
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video

On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments

Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments

The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments

TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments

Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments

IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments

TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments

TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments

The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments

The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   46 comments

Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   16 comments

New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   16 comments

The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments

We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments

Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments

Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments

Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments

On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments

Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments

A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments

VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments

Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments

Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments

Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments

The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.