Scripps study to assess ability of mobile devices to reduce health costs

Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), a National Institutes of Health-supported consortium led by Scripps Health, has initiated a clinical study aimed at evaluating whether the integration of wireless technologies, online social networks and medicine can lower healthcare spending, according to an announcement

STSI researchers are enrolling 200 study participants with chronic conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure or heart arrhythmias, who also have generated high healthcare costs over the past year. Participants are being recruited among Scripps Health's 13,500 employees and their family members through HealthComp, a third-party administrator of health care services. Researchers will evaluate the frequency, purpose and cost of health interventions, such as medical screenings and emergency room visits received by the participants during the study period.

Half of the study participants will be issued a mobile health device relevant to their condition for use over a six-month period. The devices being used in the study are a Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, an AliveCor Heart Monitor and an iBGStar Blood Glucose Meter. Data from these devices will be securely gathered and delivered via Qualcomm Life's 2net Hub and Platform, a secure cloud-based platform that collects and transmits information from remote medical sensors.

"The data will enable us to assess whether patients who actively track their health conditions through mobile devices and interact with their health care team through a web portal will have more success managing their health conditions and, as a result, spend fewer healthcare dollars," said Cinnamon Bloss, Ph.D., director of social sciences and bioethics at STSI, in a written statement.

A recent report by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that mobile technology will transform the healthcare industry in the U.S. with increased productivity gains saving $305 billion over the next 10 years. The savings will come from reduced travel time, better logistics, faster decision-making and improved communications, among other improvements.

The report cites a 2012 Brookings Institution study predicting that remote monitoring technologies will save nearly $200 billion by managing chronic diseases in the U.S. over the next 25 years. Deloitte points out other estimates that suggest remote monitoring can reduce the costs for caring for the elderly in rural areas by allowing seniors to live independently and spend more time at home, while reducing the need for face to-face medical consultations by 25 percent.

To learn more:
- read the announcement