Cambridge Consultants, a leading technology product design and development firm, has recently unveiled VenaHub, a data collection and aggregation system that promises to simplify personal health management in a connected health environment. VenaHub employs a small pocket device to capture data from a user’s ecosystem of wireless medical devices, which it then integrates into a customizable online health information portal.
Anticipating growing consumer demand for low-cost home health management devices, this launch addresses the need for a simple, consumer friendly and cost effective means to enable proactive self-management of chronic diseases. VenaHub builds on the momentum of a Vena-enabled inhaler prototype launched by Cambridge Consultants in spring 2009, and the deployment of Vena-enabled weight-scales and blood pressure monitors by A&D Medical in August 2009.
“Current solutions in the tele-health space are expensive, which means none of the parties involved want to pay for them, whether they are an insurer, hospital or patient,” said Mike Dunkley, Vice President at Cambridge Consultants. “But the novel, compact, and portable VenaHub is cheap and can plug into the USB port of any PC. Critically, it can also collect data from devices even when it’s not plugged into a computer. This technology could not only disrupt the current medical home market, but could overcome the reimbursement barrier that has prevented connected health solutions from being widely deployed.”
The vision for VenaHub’s web interface is much like an app-enabled phone or PDA where users would be able to customize different applications to suit their own needs and conditions. These applications could be created by the device makers themselves, or by third parties who develop meaningful and engaging applications using patient-specific or helpful corollary medical or wellness information. For example, an asthmatic patient could tailor their portal to see various types of information – charts of their recent inhaler use, reminders for refilling prescriptions or doctor’s appointments, lung function data via a peak flow chart – all juxtaposed against the coming week’s pollen forecast.
The wireless technology at the core of VenaHub is based on Cambridge Consultants’ Vena wireless healthcare device platform, which implements the standards selected by the Continua Health Alliance to empower patients to manage health and wellness anytime, anywhere. It embeds the Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) optimized for the secure transport of medical data, onto a single chip at an affordable price. Vena also offers the IEEE11073 standards for compatible exchange of information between health devices. VenaHub demonstrates how simple wireless technologies can be deployed to provide consumers with a tool they can use effectively at home with minimal effort and expense to manage chronic conditions like diabetes or Congestive Heart Failure as well as interact with their healthcare network. VenaHub can also be used for fitness and wellness applications.
“VenaHub demonstrates both the vision and core engineering capabilities of Cambridge Consultants. We believe it brings functionality that could accelerate widespread adoption of home health practices,” said Paul Williamson, Head of Wireless Medical at Cambridge Consultants. “We have created a low cost solution that could be brought market quickly while targeting the move to mobile platforms in the medium term.”
VenaHub is being launched in concert with the 6th annual Connected Health Symposium, presented by the Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare. The Connected Health Symposium, entitled ‘Up From Crisis: Overhauling Healthcare Information, Payment and Delivery in Extraordinary Times,’ is being held from October 21st to 22nd in Boston, Mass. The symposium will address how healthcare can ‘have its renaissance when it moves beyond the hospital and clinic and into the day-to-day lives of patients and consumers.’
Williamson will participate in a discussion at the Connected Health symposium on Wednesday, October 21st in the Georgian room at the Park Plaza Hotel. Entitled ‘The Futurists’, Williamson, a pioneer in the integration of wireless electronics into medical devices, will offer insights into the future of Connected Health, as health management continues to become more patient-centered, moving away from the hospital and towards the home
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For nearly 50 years, the company has enabled its clients to turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies.
With a team of over 300 engineers, designers, scientists and consultants, in offices in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (USA), Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, transport, energy, cleantech and wireless communications. In 2009, the company was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. For more information, visit www.CambridgeConsultants.com
About Cambridge Consultants
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, the European leader in innovation and high technology consulting. The Group’s 17,500 consultants, operating worldwide, cover the entire range of engineering specialities, including electronics, information technology, quality and organisation. Altran offers its clients ongoing support throughout the innovation cycle, from technology watch, applied basic research and management consulting to industrial systems engineering and information systems. The Group provides services to most industries, including the automotive, aeronautics, space, life sciences and telecommunications sectors. Founded in 1982, Altran operates in 20 priority countries. In 2008, it generated a turnover of €1,650 million. For more information, visit www.altran.com
IEEE 11073 Personal Health Data is a framework of standards that addresses transport-independent application and information profiles between personal telehealth devices and monitors / managers (e.g. health appliance, set top box, mobile phone, personal computer). Device profiles include pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, weighing scale, and thermometer.
The Bluetooth word mark and logo are registered trademarks and are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. A Bluetooth profile defines how different applications use Bluetooth wireless technology to set up a connection and exchange data. The Medical Devices Working Group of the Bluetooth SIG developed the Bluetooth medical device protocol to ensure that devices in the medical environment can transfer data between devices in a secure and well defined way via Bluetooth wireless technology.
The Continua Health Alliance is a non-profit, open industry coalition of the finest healthcare and technology companies joining together in collaboration to improve the quality of personal healthcare. With more than 170 member companies around the world, Continua is dedicated to establishing a system of interoperable personal health solutions with the knowledge that extending those solutions into the home fosters independence, empowers individuals and provides the opportunity for truly personalized health and wellness management. For more information, visit www.continuaalliance.org