Qualcomm, VRI Collaborate on Remote Monitoring for California Hospital

Tri-City Medical Center will set up patients with VRI's remote-monitoring platform on Qualcomm's 2net cloud service to keep them connected after discharge from the hospital.

Qualcomm Life and Valued Relationships are installing a remote-monitoring service called 2net for Tri-City Medical Center that will allow patients to stay connected to health care professionals at home following a hospital stay.

Formed by Qualcomm in December 2011, Qualcomm Life is a division of the mobile phone chipmaker focused on remote health management.

TCMC serves the Southern California cities of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and San Marcos and specializes in robotics and minimally invasive technologies.

"Advancing patient care with innovative technologies is one of our core values," Larry Anderson, CEO at Tri-City Medical Center, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, VRI is a provider of telehealth and medication dispensing and adherence services. AT&T has also unveiled a remote patient monitoring service with VRI.

2net is a cloud-based system that allows patients to transmit biometric data wirelessly from medical devices containing a 2G or 3G cellular component so that doctors and caregivers can access the information. The medical devices can also connect to smartphones. The platform supports Secure Socket Layer to protect data during transmission.

In addition, the FDA has listed 2net as a Class 1 Medical Device Data System (MDDS). Under the Class 1 rule, IT companies must register hardware or software that can transmit, store or display medical data.

Patients will use weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters and glucose meters to send readings to the 2net platform. There, caregivers will able able to monitor the data and receive alerts on patients' conditions. Family members can also view the information using the cloud portal.

With hospitals looking to cut costs and improve outcomes so they can gain incentives under the Affordable Care Act, 2net could help doctors track patients' vital signs, according to Rick Valencia, vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life.

The Qualcomm platform includes a 2Net Hub, which features three short-range radios to collect medical data from biometric sensors and transmit the data through a wide-area network (WAN) cellular modular to the 2net cloud platform.

"The plug-and-play nature of the 2net Hub pairs well with TCMC's and VRI's commitment to remote monitoring, and given the fact that the Medicare 30-Day Readmission Rule is now in effect across the U.S., this effort could not be timelier," Valencia said in a statement.

"This collaboration will enable us to further reduce our hospital readmission rates that are already some of the best in the country," added Tri-City's Anderson in a statement.

Tri-City will install Qualcomm's 2net Hub platform in patients' homes and begin a pilot program in January 2013.

"By better coordinating care for our patients, we’re better able to keep them going about their daily activities from the comfort of their own homes," said Anderson.

TCMC will use VRI's telehealth services to monitor newly discharged patients with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), which are generally known as heart attacks.

The medical center will use a risk-assessment tool to determine patients with the highest risk for readmission, Teresa Connors, a spokeswoman for TCMC, wrote in an email to eWEEK.

The hospital will initially sign up 30 to 50 patients and hopes to enroll about 200 by the end of 2013.

TCMC's deployment of VRI's telehealth platform and Qualcomm's 2net service is part of a growing trend to treat patients remotely rather than in an acute hospital environment, Qualcomm's Valencia told eWEEK in an email.

VRI will use 2net as an "information highway for medical device data into and out of patient's homes," said Valencia. "The remote monitoring kits with various medical devices that VRI deploys to patient homes will use the 2net Hub and Platform to collect, transmit and store the biometric data wherever it needs to go."

In June, another remote-monitoring company, Independa, said it would integrate its Artemis sensors with Qualcomm's 2net Hub.