Connected devices like smart scales that help patients monitor their health at home often come with a weighty setup.
Device maker Withings is using its expertise with consumer health products to develop monitoring devices that work right out of the box, removing the pain of complex assembly and connectivity.
The company recently introduced two new cellular devices that can transmit details from blood pressure to weight right from a patient's home to a doctor's office. The Withings Body Pro smart scale and BPM Connect Pro blood pressure monitor target users without tech expertise because they do not require a mobile app or smartphone. The devices come with a SIM card to connect the devices to a cellular network.
The devices include API and SDK integrations to make them compatible with partner’s apps and ecosystems, according to the company.
Withings, which competes with Apple and Fitbit in the consumer wearable space, also offers an advanced sleep system, a smart temporal thermometer and hybrid smartwatches.
In unveiling the new devices, Withings continues its focus on addressing challenges in telehealth around retention of patients and ease of installation for remote monitoring devices, according to Antoine Robiliard, vice president of health solutions for Withings business-to-business division.
The ease of use and ability to boost user engagement help eliminate “friction” for patients, according to Robiliard.
“Once they receive the devices from their providers, [patients] simply have to wake up the products and they are ready to be used,” Robiliard said. “This eliminates the installation pain point that is often associated with technology that requires an onboarding process or signing up for an app.”
In addition, when people step on the Body Pro scale or use the BPM Connect Pro to get a blood pressure reading, data gets transmitted automatically to healthcare providers using Withings’ HIPAA-compliant servers.
“Through our new devices, we have made it simple for patients to take readings from home and for that data to be sent directly to their provider without additional effort on either side,” Robiliard said. “This allows healthcare professionals to seamlessly receive medical-grade insights into their patients’ daily health vitals.”
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, home care was important for managing chronic conditions, Robiliard noted.
“The pandemic just increased that need and the interest in telehealth and remote patient monitoring as it became a necessity to quickly evolve toward remote care,” Robiliard said.
The Body Pro takes AAA batteries, which last for one year. Meanwhile, the BPM Connect Pro contains a rechargeable battery that runs for six months on a single charge.
In 2020 Withings introduced a cellular data hub that syncs the various Withings devices so it can transmit data using a cellular network.
“The Withings Data Hub is usually preferred by partners who want to use a complete ecosystem of devices for one single patient,” Robiliard said.
To access the data, healthcare partners can use Withings’ secure API, their own apps or Withings’ remote patient monitoring platform Med Pro Care. In addition, the data gets sent directly to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR).
Withings, a French company widely known for its connected consumer health devices, has been pushing further into the healthcare industry. Over the past decade, the company has added medical grade capabilities to everyday household items such as watches, scales and mattresses.
In January, Withings and health IT company Redox announced a partnership to allow Med Pro Care to integrate with almost all EHR applications that physicians, hospitals and medical institutions use. Med Pro Care provides a dashboard that lets healthcare providers monitor patient data and set up tailored measurement plans. It also incorporates secure in-app communication.
In July 2020, the company announced that it had raised $60 million with plans to invest in globally scaling its dedicated healthcare business-to-business division.
As telehealth becomes more routine, Robiliard hopes to see patients become more comfortable using medical devices at home and integrate them as part of their life.
“We hope our new cellular devices will help expand the use of telehealth and help providers gain valuable insights into their patients’ daily health levels that allow them to better treat them,” Robiliard said.