About designing remote health systems reaps rewards
As the world’s population continues to age, remote health care ortelehealth devices are becoming an enormous growth area for the embedded systems industry. Low-cost, ubiquitously connected hardware and its associated services are rapidly growing in popularity, allowing doctors to monitor, diagnose, and treat specific health conditions remotely. Telehealth devices can also be used to provide remote data collection, patient reminders, multimedia content delivery, and wellness coaching by monitoring and adjusting the user’s daily fitness and diet.
For most health care device designs, embedded developers must address a number of common requirements, including a graphical interface and small form factor, patient safety, low-power operation, remote management, secure operation, and universal connectivity. In addition, these devices must be built with long-life support plus the ability to interoperate with other equipment in the field. Although hardware and software development for telehealth can be challenging, the rewards are significant, and manufacturers are rapidly seizing opportunities in the marketplace.
To delve into the latest technologies revolutionizing health care, we interviewed telehealth industry experts in this month’s Strategies section. Alan Boucher, Director of Software Architecture and Engineering at Intel-GE Care Innovations, a joint venture between Intel Corporation and GE Healthcare, explains how embedded technologies such as wireless connectivity, software, and sensors can be used to enable and enhance products in a telehealth environment. Also on the forefront of telehealth technology, Dr. Joseph Kvedar, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health, emphasizes the need for programs that move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients by incorporating engagement strategies such as games, social networking, coaching, reminders, incentives, and punishments.