There are three big areas where communications technologies are being applied at the moment, although its use is not restricted to them. The first is chronic conditions such as diabetes that require monitoring and long-term management. Remote communications can help generate a stream of data to track the disease so that both the patient and their clinician can keep an eye on the disease.
Another major area is care for the elderly, where remote monitoring can help older people live longer in their own homes with backup if something goes wrong.
The third significant area is making patient data and patient records more accessible remotely, generating remote data and allowing greater data portability.
Managing long-term conditions
Cellnovo is a company that provides mobile diabetes management systems. Cellnovo makes a mobile device for measuring blood glucose that works with an online tool and an insulin pump to help diabetes patients to manage their condition.
Sidekick Studios is a social innovation company, using design to find fresh solutions to social problems. Sidekick are behind the Buddy project, part of Nesta's Reboot Britain programme looking at new solutions for public services, helping patients with anxiety and depression to track their moods.
Eric Dishman is an Intel healthcare researcher who has spoken at TEDMED. He speaks about 'Mainframe healthcare' - large shared resources for treatment, that separate parts of the body into different departments - and the need to move to personal healthcare, like personal computing, in people's homes. Intel is working on data collected in the home - not just biologics, but behavioural and psychological measures. Watch a video on Health Care for Seniors - Ambient Assisted Living Technology.
The Centre for Healthcare Modelling and Informatics at the University of Portsmouth are developing sensors that will be able to monitor a person's health and welfare, enabling effective home-care for remote patients and peace of mind for carers of geographically distant relatives. How close are we to employing this futuristic sounding technology? What are the practical benefits of this technology for care providers? How could it be practically implemented, and how would it be funded?
Sara Murray is the founder and creator of Buddi, a personal GPS tracking device being used with the elderly and patients with Alzheimer's. Buddi is her third company - Sara also created the company that became Confused.com, inspop.com. Read an interview with Sara Murray in the Times.
Medical records and medical data
Cambridge-based Patients Know Best created the world's first patient-controlled medical records system. They were the first to integrate for patients into the NHS secure network and the system is available for use by any patient with any clinician anywhere in the world.
BT Health is working with NHS South West Essex in deploying the Mobile Health Worker solution providing mobile access to patient records and clinical information, enabling clinicians to provide more on-the-spot diagnoses.
Google Health is an online medical data service.
Health Mining uses Microsoft technologies to mine electronic health records for new data and information:
Rock Health is a new seed accelerator starting this summer in San Francisco to fund health apps. They are seeking to accelerate "high impact innovation" in the "interactive health space."
Microsoft Medical Media Lab covers a wide range of technologies, and is dedicated to "healthcare concept development":
GE has created a series of health 'apps' with MedHelp to allow users to track their health.
Nesta's work in care and communication
Reboot's two year programme was launched in July 2009 to look at the challenges we face as a country and the new possibilities that a networked, digital world offers to overcome them.
Cellnovo is a biomedical device company committed to bringing new freedom and ease of use to people living with diabetes. The company is one of Nesta's portfolio of Venture Capital investments.
Cellnovo has produced a new kind of insulin pump that will dramatically improve treatment for people with diabetes. The device is considerably smaller than existing models due to the unique IP surrounding its pump and will be much more user friendly owing to its novel wireless and touch screen technology.