Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) developed the TeleHealth Manager as a care management tool for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It uses off-the-shelf items medical devices such as glucose monitors, transmits the information through cellphones (or enabled landline phones), and generates online reporting and alerts that are customizable.
ALU’s business model is an interesting one. ALU has developed the platform, but they are implementing through partnerships, joint projects and agreements via telecom service providers and healthcare organizations. The joint project with SaskTel, based in Saskatchewan, Canada, was the first starting in July 2008. SaskTel calls it LifeStat; their version monitors blood glucose and blood pressure for now.
At Connected Health Symposium, I spoke with members of the ALU/SaskTel joint development team, Chris Brischuk, Senior Marketing Analyst and Faisal Khan, Business Development Director, plus Terri Gibbs from Alcatel-Lucent’s Dallas-based Americas Region. According to Chris, SaskTel’s LifeStat version is important because it tests a fully integrated, affordable model for the most common chronic conditions. It’s packaged, priced and presented simply; it uses the customer’s current cell phone and blood glucose meter (the popular One Touch Ultra or Ultra 2), adding a transmitter for a monthly rental or purchase option. The blood pressure monitor is the off-the-shelf LifeSource, available in their plan for purchase or rental. Home hubs for connectivity are also available for rental or purchase. Their main marketing right now is directed to the self-monitoring consumer, who shares the information with family or their healthcare provider, making management of these chronic conditions easier and keeping the person healthier in the long run. (Their well-done LifeStat website does an excellent job on making the technology understandable, and how easy it is to use for people of all ages.) According to Faisal, online connectivity is in development. The ease, mobility, price point and cost-effectiveness is where the ALU/SaskTel team believes they have a big edge versus other standalones or M2M reporting systems. They are also working on a clinically oriented healthcare provider version.
To this reporter, the end user’s control on the TeleHealth/LifeStat reporting makes this platform different than others I’ve seen; for instance, in the LifeStat version, not only does the user control report access, but also can set up their own logbook, read trend reports and set their own event-based alert ‘triggers’ controlling by whom (and how) they are received. A good model on how technology empowers the individual in controlling their care.
More to come, we’re sure, from Alcatel-Lucent and SaskTel.
SaskTel: LifeStat video