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Is In Car Health Monitoring the Answer? Maybe? Maybe Not So Much?

Patient monitoring outside the hospital has been a hot topic (and also a not so hot topic) for the past 15 years.

Starting back in the late 1990s with companies like Health Hero Network, a company whose products for patient home monitoring are still in use today, company after company has sought to bring a successful product to market. The holy grail: finding an easy, non-intrusive, and continuously reliable way to predict patients’ potentially serious medical problems when it is early enough to do something about them and prevent an acute and expensive episode of illness.  Some of the newer companies are focused more on the wellness and tracking side of the equation, such as helping individuals see progress from an exercise or other preventive/health-inducing regimen.

So far this whole area has been a very tough nut for businesses to crack in the US in particular.  While some studies have shown great positive effect, others have not.  Insurance payment for these programs has been spotty at best and non-existent at worst; most of the current vendors are stuck in pilot hell without significant long term and widespread commitments from payers.  There is a belief, veracity unknown as yet, that the proliferation of risk-based entities such as Accountable Care Organizations will change this and lead to broad adoption of ambulatory patient monitoring tools, angels will sing and a large number of hospitalizations and rehospitalizations will be avoided.  That may be true, but remains to be seen.

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