Toumaz technology is a spin-off from Imperial College of London , and they make what is probably the only ultra low-power silicon chip targeted for healthcare applications. In October 2009, they launched the Sensium Life Pebble wireless monitoring device in EU.
The Life Pebble hardware includes a single lead ECG, skin thermometer, and an accelerometer. The data collected by the system is streamed wirelessly to a USB Network Adapter over short distances. According to MobiHealthNews, the device is currently in clinical trials are few US hospitals and Toumaz has declared an intention to submit for FDA clearance in 2011. This continuous physiological monitoring capability is currently marketed for assisted living, rehabilitation and professional sports applications by the company.
If we can put aside the “who will pay for this?” question for a minute, this kind of technology has myriad applications in both consumer and provider space. What is chunky hardware today, will almost surely be a disposable, thin patch tomorrow. If we can have a reliable way to do real-time monitoring of key vitals, disease management is no longer confined to interactions in the healthcare setting.
What intrigues me is how the trend of medical-grade remote monitoring (which is moving outside of hospital setting with technologies like Sensium) will interact with the trend of consumer-oriented remote monitoring (FitBit, DirectLife, BodyMedia, Zeo, etc.). There will be a shakeout, obviously. My guess is that the winners then will be not be defined by which way and how much data they gather, but what they do with that data. Analytics and interpretation will be the differentiators.