Retirees Raymond and Janice White are some of the most wired patients in America, thanks to the iCare Primary Care pilot program launched six months ago by Phoenix-based Banner Health and Philips Healthcare.
Janice, 77, and Raymond, 83, moved to a Phoenix-area retirement community 10 years ago after Janice was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition. Since last June, Janice has sent data to Banner from an array of wireless home health devices—a scale, pulse oximeter, breath flow monitor and blood pressure cuff—all via an Android-based tablet. “You just enter that you've taken care of everything every day and tell them how you feel,” she said.
Raymond, who is diabetic, monitors his blood pressure and blood sugar data and answers questions from his Banner providers about how he's feeling that day. “They monitor everything,” he said. “If your blood pressure or your blood sugar is off, or if Janice is really off on her weight, they call. They assign you a coach, also. We have a very nice lady. She's very concerned about us, and answers any questions.”
Janice said she's talked up the home-monitoring program with the ladies at her quilting club. “I recommended it to two of them.”
Experts say an explosive growth in the volume of patient-generated health data is inevitable, with patient demand being a key driver. According to Pew Foundation researchers, 21% of Americans already are tracking their health on some kind of an electronic device. A survey by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics last year found there were more than 150 mobile apps on the market that could track or capture user-entered data.