CommNexus of San Diego joined with CTIA, West Wireless Health Institute and Qualcomm last night to host a panel discussion on Wireless Healthcare at the impressive Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall in San Diego. While the panel’s discussion was not directly related to cell sites and cellular antenna leases, it was very interesting take a peek into our future to see the impact that the wireless industry will have on global healthcare. The panel included a trio of fore-thinkers from the West Wireless Health Institute including its founder, philanthropist Gary West.
West noted that by 2020 there will be major shortage of doctors to treat the rapidly aging population in the USA and that wireless monitoring of patients will significantly reduce the number of office visits. Key vitals can be remotely monitored with the data being transferred and managed electronically whereby patients only come to see a doctor if their results are outside the norm. Imagine it… not only implantable devices like pace-makers and heart monitors, but also wearable devices such as portable ventilators with wireless capability and even digestible devices. The panel noted that this will lead to not only wireless monitoring but remote analytics and predictive modeling to forecast health issues before they occur.
Additionally, the panel made the point that growth in this area will be consumer driven, rather than doctor or prescription driven as patients will most likely choose to purchase their monitoring devices as a preventative measure rather than waiting for their doctor to prescribe one for treatment.
This is all pretty cool stuff! While many of these devices will be Bluetooth based, I can still see a much greater need for cell sites as dropped connections will now become a liability – you don’t want to be the network that caused a person to die because the transmission of a patient’s vitals did not make it through to the doctor. While my job of negotiating, documenting and administiring cellular antenna leases is not as sexy as developing wireless devices that will save future lives, I am proud to play a small part in maintaining the infrastructure that many of these devices will operate on. I say it is great to be part of an industry that will revolutionize health care not only in the USA, but worldwide.