The Privacy Factor
In addition, although three-quarters of respondents consider privacy a key factor in considering whether to employ the devices, 63 percent are willing to use them to share their data. Wireless health devices at home could prevent patients from developing White Coat Syndrome, which is raised blood pressure that develops from anxiety in a doctor's office."A lot of people feel that they get stressed about the hospital setting, and the situation tends to raise their blood pressure," Fraser said.As people manage their health using the devices, fewer general practitioners and office visits may be needed, she suggested. Physician practices may then be able to save money on infrastructure costs. Health-monitoring devices can be beneficial in cases where conditions change from day to day, such as for diabetics' sugar levels. They could help monitor a child's ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), a condition that changes from day to day. Doctors will then get a more complete snapshot than they would get from just a random visit to the office, Fraser said. "The child disorder can be all over the place, but on the day they go in to see the doctor they can be good as gold," she said. These monitoring devices could even be built into games on a Nintendo DS or Wii, Fraser noted. For patients with diabetes or heart conditions, Medtronic has a line of CareLink devices. Other manufacturers include A&D Medical, Nonin, 3M and Omron. Meanwhile, the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) has released new specifications for the Bluetooth 4.0 wireless standard and expects health-monitoring devices incorporating this update to hit shelves by December.