It was great to catch up with Rick Valencia, General Manager of Qualcomm Life (QCL) and SVP at Qualcomm, at the 2014 mHealth Summit in Washington DC. Qualcomm Life embodies the digital health effort at Qualcomm.
QCL is a major player in the digital management of chronic illness. They have been working in the area for close to a decade. Rick says the organization has helped to build a trade organization and standards groups and, he adds, you can also get a Masters degree in Wireless Health from Case Western University on the QualComm campus.
QCL was launched 3 years ago with the introduction of their 2Net technology that according to Rick, “enables entities that are trying to get data from the home to get it more seamlessly and in an open sort of way (device or manufacturer agnostic) including from heavy duty regulated medical devices. 2Net itself is a regulated platform.”
He went on to say, “We are focused on medical grade clinical solutions. We support providers who are deploying chronic disease management solutions to keep people who have been discharged from bouncing back into the hospital. And, to help folks with serious chronic disease manage those conditions on a continuous basis.”
With regard to patient engagement, Rick says “the whole industry is just starting to get lift off and this conference [the mHealth Summit] is a good indicator of that. It is more focused this year and we are talking a lot more about issues of implementation. What is the number one thing that people are talking about? Engagement. When do you start talking about engagement? That is when you get things in front of people and you see how they are using or not using them. And, you have to influence engagement so that you get better uptake. The fact that we are talking about engagement is a really good sign that the industry is moving along.”
Partnership with Vitaphone
Vitaphone is a chronic care management company headquartered in Germany, but with substantial operations in the U.S. as well. They provide remote patient monitoring across all chronic conditions.
The company has its own technology, in particular, tele-ECG monitoring devices, but they are also getting into a broader range of condition management now. In addition to their own purpose-built peripheral medical devices, they have their own data capture-communications platform and their own interfaces for how results are viewed by care providers and the patient.
According to Rick, Vitaphone partnered with QCL because they realized for a healthcare organization to be doing all the technology and providing all of the services is a huge effort and it requires many different skill sets as well. Partnering with QCL makes sense because,
“Qualcomm is a mobile technology company—we build the underlying digital health infrastructure that enables companies that want to deliver care to focus on just that. They can let us do the technology and they can focus on doing the care.”
Rick went on to say that partnerships, such as the one QCL has with Vitaphone, are a sign that the industry is maturing and starting to identify how best to scale. “The way you scale is you get focused on what you do best and then partner for the rest.”
QCL acquired Healthy Circles about a year and a half ago and has spent the last year getting it integrated with 2Net. Healthy Circles is a “fulls-ervice care management and care coordination platform” that enables providers to sign up discharged patients so that they can be monitored, particularly in the immediate post-discharge period. Anyone who is invited onto the platform (docs, nurses, patients, families, caregivers) can see data that is collected from various medical devices via 2Net as well as other clinical data (e.g., medication history, labs, care teams, self-assessment data) captured by the Healthy Circles’ platform. They can then “share it in a Facebook-like fashion.”
When I asked Rick if this acquisition suggests that QCL is becoming a healthcare delivery company, he said, “we will never be in the care delivery business at Qualcomm…rather, we are creating infrastructure to enable those who do deliver care to do what they do best.”
You can learn more about Qualcomm Life’s other partnerships in the Qualcomm Life Ecosystem here.