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Vision of Tomorrow

May 1, 2007
by Anthony Guerra
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Looking to show how different products and services can be joined into a comprehensive remote monitoring service, Accenture's Online Health Services prototype recently demoed its latest ideas.

Peter Glasar
"The prototype demonstrates the integrating of multiple emerging technologies for services not intended by the original device makers," says Peter Glaser, a senior manager with Chicago'-based Accenture Technology Labs.

In its vision, a number of remote monitoring devices wirelessly transmit data that is then aggregated into a single application — most likely one designed by a large electronic medical record vendor. The data can then be rolled up into a user-friendly dashboard that is watched by a nurse or other healthcare worker. Accenture's role, Glaser contends, is to provide the overall vision and facilitate integration, the company's bread and butter. "We provide the middleware, the layer to integrate," he says.

One device Accenture became interested in, for example, is the LifeShirt from Ventura, Calif.-based Vivometrics. The LifeShirt System is a non-invasive, continuous ambulatory monitoring system that can collect data on pulmonary, cardiac, and other physiologic data, and correlate them over time. "We liked the LifeShirt, and thought that if you take this technology and add wireless communication, such as a cell phone, perhaps using Bluetooth, you can get the data right off of it," he says.

Linking up wirelessly transmitted information from devices like the LifeShirt, among others, is at the core of the vision, along with comparing that information to predictive models using sophisticated analytics.

Accenture's Online Health Services prototype may be part of tomorrow
The big question, Glaser admits, is what's the right business model to make the vision profitable. In a single payer system, he says, it's much simpler, as a longer-term view of the investment would be possible. However, in our multi-payer world, the immediate bottom line has to make sense.

Glaser says the company has been "socializing" its new concept with group like the National Council on Aging and some of the large healthcare IT vendors.