Implantable wireless tech getting popular

As prices fall and capabilities expand, a broad array of medical devices making use of wireless technology are beginning to emerge. We're not talking about phones or PDAs here--but rather, devices that live on or inside patients. These include the PillCam, made by Israeli-based Given Imaging. A $450 capsule, the Pill Cam is swallowed by patients, then used to perform gastro-intestinal endoscopy tests. Another example comes from Germantown, MD-based Sensors for Medicine and Science. The company is making a glucose sensor which will sit just under the skin of a patient's forearm, connected to a wristband reader. (Scottsdale, AZ-based MedApps is trialing similar technology; it relies on cell phones to collect and broadcast glucose readings to physician-accessible servers.) Meanwhile, medical device giant Medtronic has gotten approval for an implantable defibrillator which measures pressure and fluid inside patients' hearts, then sends the data to remote units.

It's worth noting that while these devices are promising, most providers' IT infrastructure wouldn't be able manage them effectively. However, early trials suggest that the clinical benefits of such systems are probably worth the IT hassles.

To find out more about this trend:
- read this iHealthBeat article