Health 2.0: eHealth Needs Hardware, Too

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , October 3, 2011

You think eHealth is all about the apps and software? While it is true that the vast majority of eHealth tools featured at the Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco exist only online or in smartphones and devices, there were several devices folks can actually touch at the show.

Although most of the devices are aimed at consumer end-users, there are benefits to healthcare organizations. For example, devices that allow patients to share their data can help docs track patients after discharge, allowing them to intervene if a patient shows signs deterioration--possibly heading off a visit to the ER or a readmission.

Rehabilitate in a box

Vlad Shlosberg, Roderick Escobar and Sheetal Shah won the conference's code-a-thon contest with a device they call simply "The Box." A Microsoft Kinect gaming system, equipped with motion-sensor technology, tracks patients recovering from cardiac events as they perform rehabilitation exercises.

Doctors can check in on results through a tablet application that records the information and a video conferencing tool lets doctors and patients conduct remote visits. The portable device is encased in a hard-shell pelican case--a healthcare organization could rent or lend it to a patient until rehab is complete.

The box is also budget-friendly. Over the two-day code-a-thon, team members, all employees of tech firm Avanade, dashed through the city to buy about $470 worth of parts and supplies, passing through the notoriously free-spirited Folsum Street Fair on the way.

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