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The Internet of Health Care Things

Often when we think of the Internet of Things, we’re thinking about gadgets – cool items that make life easier (like my NEST thermostat), or stuff that’s just plain fun (like my NEST thermostat).

But sometimes, they’re actually money – and even life – saving, as is the case of monitoring equipment that will someday be placed in patients’ homes so that medical personnel can monitor vital signs without requiring patients to make costly visits to the doctors’ office. And in the case of the elderly and chronically ill, this can also help with the logistic difficulties of getting to and from regular appointments that end up being of a pretty trivial nature. But sometimes trivial problems – if not attended to – can end up in high-cost hospital stays.

This came to mind when I saw a recent article in the local news about Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, which is applying for a federal grant to set up a remote monitoring system to support Medicare patients.

Over the years, Critical Link SoMs have been embedded in a number of medical instrumentation systems, including systems that characterize pharmaceutical chemistries, determine the purity of a fluid, identify the presence of cancer cells in blood, sequence DNA, or even help the blind to see. These applications have not been direct patient monitoring systems, but have worked behind the scenes to improve health. Most recently, our medical-related customers and prospects have been showing increasing interest in exploring network integration, including WiFi, higher levels of on-board processing, and intuitive user interfaces (such as graphic LCD interfaces). These product features are critical to helping our customers get the types of applications that end up in home health care situations out to the market more quickly.

Developments in the medical arena are one of the areas in which the Internet of Things will turn out to be the most valuable. Gadgets are fun and all, but when technology can be used to both save money and improve lives, now we’re talking!