Medicine on the Go

By Tony Kontzer  |  Posted 2009-09-29 Print this article Print

Companies in the life sciences industry are adapting key technologies to fit their very specific business process environments.

Medicine on the Go

It’s not just life sciences companies that are looking to technology for the ability to deliver better results. Even techno-skeptic doctors such as Dr. Amos Johnson have gotten into the act.

Johnson, a primary care physician in Farmington Hills, Mich., is a self-described computer lover who, nonetheless, had been utterly disappointed in the lack of positive impact technology has had on health care. He does acknowledge that electronic medical records have contributed something: “They actually make my work harder,” he says.

But that negative perception has been challenged by, of all things, his iPhone. Johnson is one of 30 physicians in the country who have been beta testing an iPhone application called Care360 Mobile Companion, from Quest Diagnostics. The secure, HIPAA-compliant app allows Johnson to manage all of his patients’ medication needs while on the go. He uses the phone to check everything from what medications do or do not work together to a patient’s medication history to lab test results, with abnormal findings highlighted in red. “The whole layout is really user-friendly,” he says. “It operates a lot like I do with a paper chart.”

What’s more, Johnson also is testing an add-on e-prescription function that allows him to submit prescriptions from his phone, or resubmit prescriptions that patients have lost.

A Collaborative Approach

The commercialization center recently opened by Beaumont Hospitals, a three-hospital system in Southeast Michigan, could prove to be a technical boon to the region’s medical device makers and struggling automotive manufacturers at once.

Part of Oakland County’s new Medical Main Street initiative to connect doctors and med-tech companies, the collaborative environment created in Beaumont’s commercialization center enables medical device makers to tap into a simulated hospital environment, getting hospital staff directly involved in designing and tweaking products based on how they’re used in prototype operating rooms.

The effort is having the additional effect of providing a much-needed potential revenue stream for automobile parts makers. For example, Delphi’s five-year-old Delphi Medical Systems unit is among those working to adapt electronics, sensors, pumps and other automotive technologies for use in medical devices that move fluids or take pressure readings.

Like their more established med-tech counterparts, these companies are benefiting from having direct access to a hospital environment and the valuable research data that those tests yield. “The ability to transfer that technical know-how to our industry presents a lot of opportunities,” says John Shallman, director at the commercialization center.

Tony Kontzer is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.

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