Wednesday, May 25, 2011

USB & Your Health

 

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This afternoon I was at my local Drugstore in line waiting for my prescription medication.  I regularly scan the shelves to see how technology is impacting the retail pharmacy business. There are the usual blood pressure monitors, glucometers, pregnancy tests,  STD tests, HIV tests, etc.

Even with all the hype about PHR, there has been a paucity and near absence of products which are supposed to make home health monitoring accessible to the patient’s physician.

Today I saw a glimmer of hope. My eye caught “USB” on a package, and no I was not in the electronics department.  Closer investigation revealed the Bayer’s CONTOUR USB meter. It looks quite like a standard USB flash device. Closer inspection reveals a few important differences.

The  device has two ends, the first has the usual insertion slot for test strips, the other end has a standard USB connection with a protective cap.

Overall the CONTOUR is the same size as a standard stick. On one side is a highly visible digital display for the measure blood glucose, and the time at which is was recorded. Software is available for Mac, Windows, to interface with a laptop, or desktop.  There was no mention for handheld portable devices, or interfaces for smartphones.

Health Train thinks that this may be a beginning, however the utility of the CONTOUR is severely hampered by the lack of it’s ability to transmit data directly to an online PHR. Perhaps this is the next step. Perhaps this will be a function of the PC software. At any rate Baxter fails to give it the final “kill”.

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The software (which must be downloaded from an online source at Baxter does allow storage with graphs and trends for blood glucose levels as well as the ability to print results and graphs in  a pdf format.

Health Train can see a project for Health 2.0 Challenge to develop the glucometer which would plug directly into an iPhone, Android, or RIM smartphone and beam a report directly to the PHR or doctors EMR.

The price-point is amazingly low. My pharmacy was selling it for $ 75.00, about the same price as some of the high end standard glucometers.

A standard User Manual is available from their web site:

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