The emergence of smart connected homes will boost the market for home telehealth systems. As geographic separation between patients and care givers materializes, key innovations will support better monitoring and management of chronic conditions. However, to fully unleash the home telehealth market potential, financial barriers to adoption like service fees reimbursement (remote patient monitoring fees) and supporting devices costs reimbursement need to be resolved over the coming years.
Smart connected homes: Home telehealth market enablers?
Smart connected homes, with wireless home networks, wireless sensor networks and 24/7 Internet access, allow home environments to be connected to the cloud and securely monitored and controlled using pervasive devices.
In smart connected homes, the deployment of home telehealth technology becomes possible and patients can take an active role in the management of their chronic diseases. Patients can transmit vital health data from the home to the physician’s office, and in turn, receive personalized health coaching tips from the practitioner. Furthermore, in smart connected homes, networked devices and telehealth systems can act in pre-programmed ways if a medical problem were to occur within the home of a patient.
Home telehealth systems can give the patient the assurance that the appropriate caregiver (a family member, a close relative or the care center, depending on pre-set policies or pre-set automatic alert levels) will automatically be alerted should the situation warrant it.
Home telehealth systems are expected to become ubiquitous in smart connected homes, and will generally consist of a central health hub managing multiple biometrics data measurement devices, as well as (optional) security and/or assisted living sensors. This will allow people with illnesses or disabilities, to live within the comfort of their homes while retaining a high quality of life.
There is compelling evidence to support the value of remote monitoring for individuals with chronic conditions, including:
• 35-56 percent reduction in mortality
• 47 percent reduction in risk of hospitalization
• 6 days reduction in length of hospital admission
• 65 percent reduction in office visits
• 40-64 percent reduction in physician time for checks and
• 63 percent reduction in transport costs
(Cleland et al 2005; Lee R, Goldberg et al, 2003; Scalvini S et al., 2001; Elsner et al, 2006; Van Ginneken et al 2006)
To help device makers address this promising home telehealth market, Freescale introduced a modular development platform, the home health hub reference platform .
Figure 1: Home health hub reference platform by Freescale – block diagram
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