AT&T has launched a cloud patient-monitoring service that will help doctors manage patients' chronic diseases through live video chat.
Introduced Dec. 4, the remote-patient-monitoring (RPM) platform is built on an Ericsson cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) infrastructure. Ericsson's Remote Patient Monitoring System uses Bluetooth devices and medical sensors to transmit patients' vital signs remotely to doctors, who access the data from a secure device-agnostic cloud platform from Intuitive Health.
Consumer mobile devices connect with the Intuitive Health platform to enable patients to keep track of their health. Doctors can integrate data gained from RPM with their workflows, according to AT&T.
The new RPM platform will be part of AT&T's ForHealth business, which the company created to accelerate wireless, cloud and networking services in health care. AT&T launched ForHealth in 2010.
The SaaS platform could enable better management of chronic diseases, such as congestive heart failure and diabetes, as well as reduce hospital re-admissions, AT&T reported. In addition, the platform will provide reminders to patients about their medication routines and educate patients about their conditions.
Nurses at a telemonitor center could use the service to monitor patients around the clock, AT&T reported.
Connecting with patients through a video session allows doctors and nurses to see symptoms they may not pick up through just a voice conversation, Eleanor Chye, executive director for AT&T Mobile Healthcare,told eWEEK.
"We heard feedback from the provider community that they wanted a video-coaching component, which we are now scaling and building through Ericcson," said Chye.
"Live, on-demand, two-way video enables a personal connection for the patient and doctor, extending the relationship beyond the hospital walls," Dr. Geeta Nayyar, chief medical information officer for AT&T ForHealth, said in a statement.
Video allows doctors to detect clinical indicators such as skin color and mood to determine if a patient is using medical devices and taking medications as directed, said Nayyar.
AT&T and Intuitive Health are working on a research study that incorporates RPM technology. The project integrates real-time, high-definition video on smartphones and tablets. AT&T and Intuitive Health plan to complete this research in Dec. 2013.
AT&T demonstrated the new platform at the mHealth Summit in National Harbor, Md. The conference runs from Dec. 3 to 5.
The RPM SaaS platform is being evaluated in pilot deployments at large health systems, academic medical centers and home care providers, AT&T reported. The company says the product will be available in 2013.
Remote patient monitoring is a trend to watch in health care in 2013, according to AT&T.
"These kinds of technologies have the potential to help people make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care," said Nayyar. "Physicians make better treatment decisions and predictions based on better data, so we must have better access to information when patients need it the most."
In May, AT&T unveiled a similar RPM platform with Valued Relationships Inc. (VRI), a health services provider that develops medical alert systems to notify doctors when patients have emergencies at home.