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Hospitals and Wearables

Posted on September 12, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

I’ve been pretty closely following the various wearable options that have been entering the tech marketplace as part of my mobile health coverage. The most recent coverage is of the Apple Watch that was just announced. It’s a fascinating market and one that’s just barely getting started. It includes everything from smartwatches to eyeware (led by Google Glass) to contact lenses to fitness trackers to even your smartphone and more.

As I think about the wearable marketplace, I was thinking about how these wearables will apply in the hospital setting. I’d divide wearables impact on hospitals into two main categories: enterprise wearables and consumer (patient) wearables.

Enterprise Wearables
In the enterprise wearables space, I think we’ve seen the most traction with Google Glass. There are a whole plethora of eyeware computing companies that are using Google Glass in enterprise applications in hospitals. I’d say that most of the solutions revolve around telemedicine like applications, but we also see a few that are starting to integrate with other outside data and displaying that to the doctor. We’ve also seen a few applications where Google Glass has been used to document something for the patient. I’m interested to see how these technologies evolve over time. The tests of all of these things are so early that it’s hard to say if they are must have features for every hospital organization.

I have yet to see an enterprise smartwatch implementation. I expect that the first implementation will likely be in the healthcare communication space. One challenge in hospitals is definitely around hospital communication. Access to various messages on your watch could make accessing them easier. I’m not so bullish on this idea because it’s not that much easier than just pulling out your smart phone.

In the enterprise wearables world, what does seem clear to me is that these applications will have to integrate with the legacy systems. There are a few implementations (ie. Telemedicine applications) where this isn’t completely necessary, but the applications will have limited benefit to a hospital without a great integration with the other hospital systems.

Patient Wearables
I’m much more bullish on the various patient wearables. Many of these wearables were designed for consumers, so it makes sense that they would work well for consumers. Take for example, a smart watch. What a perfect way to track a diabetic and remind them of appropriate treatment. I’ve seen this done with smartphones and that’s pretty smooth, but a watch is even easier. Done right, it can be made so easy, even my mother could do it (no offense to my mother, but she’s not very technical). I love that type of monitoring and tracking that could be done with patients and hopefully reduce hospital readmissions and ensure care plans are followed. I haven’t seen anyone doing it yet, so maybe that’s an opportunity waiting for you.

I’m less excited about eyeware computing with patients. There might be some edge cases, but I haven’t seen or heard of any great patient focused applications with Google Glass. If you know of some, I’d love to hear of any.

Those are a few of my thoughts on wearables in the hospital. I’m sure there are plenty of implementations and technologies I’m missing. It’s a rapidly changing area. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s happening with wearables in hospitals or things you think could or should happen with them.

ICUs Can Improve Survival, Speed Discharges Using Telehealth

Posted on December 10, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

ICUs can boost patient survival rates and speed ICU and hospital discharge rates if they use tele-ICU technologies, a study published  in CHEST Journal concludes, according to a report in iHealthBeat.

The study involved researching the impact of tele-ICU technologies in 56 ICUs that were part of 32 hospitals and 19 health systems, tracking them over a five-year period, according to iHealthBeat. The project, which was led by Craig Lilly, director of UMass Memorial Medical Center’s eICU Program, involved more than 110,000 patients.

The hospitals involved in the study used the Phillips Healthcare eICU technology, a comprehensive set-up which included bidirectional audio and video equipment, population management tools and real-time and retrospective reporting tools.

The study looked at how ICU doctors created treatments based on best practices, and responded to patient alerts and alarms, iHealthBeat notes.

Researchers found that patients who received care in hospitals using telemedicine were 26 percent more likely to survive in the ICU than patients in units that didn’t use tele-ICU technologies. It also found that patients were 16 percent more likely to survive their hospitalization than their counterparts who didn’t receive tele-ICU services.

What’s more, researchers found that patients in ICUs using telemedicine saw 20 percent faster discharges in the ICU and 15 percent faster hospital discharges.

This research strongly suggests that tele-ICU is maturing, and should be taken seriously as part of a hospital’s treatment arsenal.  In fact, your hospital might want to take a look at a new set of best practices created by the New England Healthcare Institute designed to make tele-ICU more scalable and accessible to hospitals.

Ultimately, the ideal is to connect telemedicine — and other remote sources of data — to hospital EMRs, allowing a new level of collaboration between far-flung clinicians. But in the mean time, it seems that tele-ICU can offer great benefits even if it creates a data silo for the time being.

Remote Patient Monitoring Going Mainstream

Posted on January 31, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

This week I read a piece of news which suggests to me that we’re seeing a turning point in the use of remote monitoring technology to manage patients.  It looks like AT&T is taking a major public position in support of remote monitoring via the cloud, via a partnership with a  hot new startup that just raised funding, according to a report in mobihealthews.

According to the mobile health news publication, cloud-based patient monitoring company Intuitive Health just got a $3.4 million investment in what appears to be the company’s first public round of investment.

Intuitive, which completed a pilot with health system Texas Health Resources and AT&T last year, offers cloud-based remote monitoring software which can interface with any device.

The pilot involved monitoring CHF patients remotely for 90 days using wireless pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs and weight scales, plus tablets and apps feeding the data to the  patients’ EMR records. During the pilot, THR reduced hospital readmissions for chronic heart failure patients by 27 percent, mobihealthnews reports.

According to a press release from AT&T, Intuitive’s software has since become a key component in the telecom giant’s own SaaS patient monitoring product.

Remote monitoring has been a hot topic of discussion and an emerging approach for several years, but hasn’t found an established place in day-to-day care for most institutions.  With AT&T and Intuitive offering a device-agnostic model, however, I believe they will give a boost to the use of remote monitoring generally.

Personally, I’ve been cheering for remote monitoring to succeed for some time; after all, given how mobile-device-oriented people are anyway, it just makes sense to leverage those capabilities to improve their health.  I hope this represents a turning point for this type of technology and that we see news of more successful pilots this year.