Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Qualcomm and Hill-Rom develop connected vest to help cystic fibrosis patients

Steve Rogerson
June 29, 2016:

A vest that helps clear a cystic fibrosis sufferer’s airways and communicates the health of the patient wirelessly has been developed by a collaboration between Chicago-based Hill-Rom Holdings and Qualcomm Life.
The VisiVest garment provides airway clearance by inflating and deflating rapidly, applying gentle pressure to the chest wall. This works to loosen and dislodge mucus from the bronchial walls and move it to larger airways where it can be cleared by coughing or suctioning. If not removed, retained secretions may contribute to increased rates of respiratory infection, hospitalisation and reduced lung function.
Patients' usage data are remotely and securely transmitted using Bluetooth to the VisiView health portal via Qualcomm Life's 2net hub enabling highly secure, medical-grade connectivity.
"In healthcare, the ability to make decisions based on accurate, timely information is essential," said Alton Shader, president for front line care at Hill-Rom. "The VisiVest System and Qualcomm Life's 2net connectivity bring care teams and patients closer, helping to better manage patients' illness and improve their quality of life."
The health portal is Hill-Rom's first digital health product designed to enhance communications between health care teams and patients. The portal is a secure, cloud-based system that automatically receives information from respiratory care devices in a patient's home. Patients and health care teams share a user-friendly dashboard to view therapy data and trends for enhanced teamwork.
The therapy adherence data may help inform decisions caregivers make for their patients, resulting in reduced risk of respiratory infections, hospitalisations and medical costs.
The portal, developed by application development company Razorfish, displays data trends in an easy-to-use dashboard format. This connectivity fosters a closer partnership between patients and health care teams, so treatment decisions by caregivers can be more tailored and responsive, which may result in better therapy adherence.
"We are thrilled to be working with a global industry leader in health care technology and excited by the impact our collaboration with Hill-Rom can have for chronic lung disease patients and their caregivers," said Rick Valencia, president of Qualcomm Life. "By combining Hill-Rom's leadership in health care with Qualcomm Life's expertise in connectivity, we are innovating to deliver effortless connected experiences that empower patients and their care providers."
In a pilot study conducted over the past few months, 160 patients from seven cystic fibrosis clinics have adopted the VisiVest system. Patients and care teams have responded with great enthusiasm and excitement for the technology.
"What I like most about the VisiVest System is being able to see my patients' session data and trends," said Tom Newton, pulmonary therapist at Miller Children's Hospital in California. "Now I'm not just telling my patients the more adherent they are to their therapy, the higher their pulmonary function numbers are likely to be. We can actually look at their adherence score together and have a more comprehensive conversation about their numbers."