The Continua Health Alliance recently announced the unveiling of it's first guidelines, which will be promulgated early in 2008. The press release indicated that membership in Continua had grown six-fold, from 22 to 133 corporate members. According to the release,
"The comprehensive set of guidelines will help improve the quality of care by empowering consumers and their healthcare providers to more simply share information through common communication channels such as telephones, cell phones, PCs, TV set top boxes, as well as other dedicated health devices."
Continua's vision of readily connected health and medical devices to assist in chronic disease management is compelling.
"These interoperable devices include blood glucose tests, blood pressure monitors, pulse
oximeters and other basic vital sign monitors. Devices such as motion sensors, medication reminders and emergency response services ease the burden on family and professionals who provide care for the aging. These technologies proactively aid the secure, healthy independence of the aging in their own homes. Diet and fitness conscious individuals will also be able to seamlessly share their weight and exercise data with fitness consultants by using devices such as heart rate monitors, connected fitness equipment and activity monitors. Additionally, Continua-certified data transport hardware and software will further enhance broad based interoperability of these devices."
I was particularly taken by the announcement that Continua had decided to retain the services of Abt Associates Inc. to study telehealth reimbursement policy.
"Abt Associates will assist in cataloging, synthesizing and assessing all telehealth studies and
the peer-reviewed cost-effectiveness literature. This work will help Continua determine strategies for initiating increasing telehealth cost effectiveness, initiating quality improvement studies and for securing reimbursement for telehealth products and service."