Past e-Newsletter Issues
HomeAbout BHTServicese-NewsletterCare ManagementContact Us

E-CareManagement News

April 14, 2004


Forrester Research recently coined the term "Healthcare Unbound" to encompass the technology-enabled shift toward self-care, mobile care, and home care.  The Center for Aging Services Technologies recently facilitated a demo day for members of Congress and showed examples of  "Healthcare Unbound" technologies beginning to enter the marketplace. 

Skeptics might point out that "If you look in the rearview mirror at the road we've traveled over in the past few years, consumer technologies haven't had much on impact on health care."

....and they would be right.

HOWEVER, the view down the road for consumer health care technologies is very promising.

So what's different looking down the road instead of in the rearview mirror?  Four things:

1) Baby Boomers Will Have Far Greater Expectations for Health Care Technologies
2) Prices Will Fall Dramatically
3) Technology Will Become Part of the Background of Life
4) Technologies Will Integrate and Work Together

Let's take a look at these one at a time.

1) Baby Boomers Will Have Far Greater Expectations of Health Care Technologies.  The Pew Internet Project report Older Americans and the Internet reveals statistics showing a startling generational digital divide.  The percentage of Americans with Internet access varies dramatically by age:

  • 62% of Americans age 50-58 years-old

  • 46% of Americans age 59-68

  • 17% of Americans age 69 and older

I have often remarked that the Internet will have arrived for seniors when my Mom (who just turned 80) actually orders a pizza over the Internet.  I'm still waiting....and my Mom is blissfully happy remaining unwired. 

Baby boomers are a different story, however.  As the Pew Internet Project points out, "there is a burgeoning group of Americans who are slightly younger but vastly more attached to the online world".

2) Prices Will Fall Dramatically.  Some of the early devices used to measure vital signs in patient's homes were built by companies with a medical mindset.  These companies are used to charging a couple of million dollars for a CT Scanner or MRI machine, so what's the big deal with selling a bathroom scale for heart failure patients with a price tag of 6 or 7 thousand dollars?

Other remote monitoring companies have approached this opportunity with a very different mindset.  "Let's see...we'll need to get a digital scale from the local medical supply store, we'll need to connect it through a POTS (plain old telephone service) line...."  The price tag so far -- a couple hundred bucks.

Which approach do you think will win in a consumer health care market?

Buzz Peddicord, President of the remote monitoring company HomMed, started his company's success by selling to home health agencies.  However, he anticipates that HomMed's technology will soon be sold at stores like BestBuy or Sharper Image.  He believes the consumer market for remote monitoring technologies eventually will be "larger than all other markets combined."

3) Technology Will Become Part of the Background of Life.  Today's technology mostly requires that users must DO something to interact with the technology.  Many of tomorrow's computing technologies will NOT require user interaction; the technology will just be there, running in the background, doing what it needs to do to assist us in monitoring health for ourselves and our loved ones.  

For example, many companies are developing sensors for people's homes to provide real-time information to answer the question "Are my elderly parents OK?"  Another example is the FitSense Technology BodyLAN™ Wireless Intelligent Sensor Network that collects data on the human body and transports it virtually anytime, anywhere and to anyone.

My work over the past year and a half with several divisions of Samsung Electronics has educated me on the value of  "ubiquitous" technologies.  The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology is conducting R&D on five technology platforms, including digital, nano, opto, energy, and bio.  All these contribute to Samsung's competency of making technologies ubiquitous.

4) Technologies Will Integrate and Work Together.  Yesterday, most self care and consumer health technologies were a collection of pieces-parts.  A blood pressure cuff here...a heart monitor there...blood sugar readings that diabetics scribble down on the back of a napkin (if they remember).  Few of these devices work together or share information.  However, all this is changing.

On the health care front, integration is now a major theme.  Health care payors and providers are recognizing that they must share information.  The new Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Mark McClellan, is making the electronic health record a top priority.

On the consumer electronics front, companies like the Samsung Digital Solution Center are developing home networks -- connecting your appliances, computing and entertainment technologies. Take a look at Samsung's vision for an eHealth solution and you can begin to envision the day that you will be able to have a virtual visit with your doctor, supported by technology at home.

"What about privacy?" you ask.  First, successful "Healthcare Unbound" technologies will have a big "OFF" button controlled by the user.  ...and we will want other safeguards, but that's for another newsletter....

Vince Kuraitis, Principal
Better Health Technologies

Additional Resources:

Older People - Independence And Well-Being: The Challenge For Public Services
Audit Commission (UK), 2004
Assistive Technology Report
Other Supporting Reports also available.

Technology and Aging -- AAHSA and CAST Meetings
Sandy and Dave's Report on The Broadband Home; March 24, 2004

The State of 50+ America
AARP, January 2004

Tech firms want to help elderly — and cash in
USA Today; February 10, 2004

Fact Sheet:  Assistive Technology
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging; January 2004

Picture of Health
A Robot for the Elderly

Washington Post; March 23, 2004

A Conference & Exhibition on the Convergence of Consumer and Healthcare Technologies
Special Focus on Telehomecare & Remote Patient Monitoring
July 8 - 9, 2004, Cambridge, MA

Healthcare Unbound technologies will transform health care and empower healthcare consumers to promote wellness and manage diseases.

Conference faculty includes:   

  • William Novelli, Executive Director & CEO, AARP

  • Joseph Kvedar, MD, Partners Telemedicine; President-Elect, American Telemedicine Association

  • Vince Kuraitis, JD, Better Health Technologies

  • Eric Dishman, Intel Proactive Health Research

  • Elizabeth Boehm, Forrester Research

  • Alice Pentland, MD, Center for Future Health, U. of Rochester

  • Steven Intille, MIT Home of the Future

  • Robin Felder, Medical Automation Research Center, U. of Virginia

  • Victor Villagra, MD, President, Health & Technology Vector, Inc.

  • Ron Poropatich, MD, Past-President, American Telemedicine Association

  • Carol Rozwell, Gartner

  • ....and many others

Supporting organizations include the Disease Management Association of America (DMAA) and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

For additional information and registration information, click here.


The Future of Family Medicine: A Collaborative Project of the Family Medicine Community
Annals of Family Medicine; Supplement, March/April 2004

The project identified core values, a New Model of practice, and a process for development, research, education, partnership, and change with great potential to transform the ability of family medicine to improve the health and health care of the nation. The proposed New Model of practice has the following characteristics: a patient-centered team approach; elimination of barriers to access; advanced information systems, including an electronic health record; redesigned, more functional offices; a focus on quality and outcomes; and enhanced practice finance.

State-of-the-art chronic disease management will be an important part of the services provided by New Model practices. The care of patients with chronic diseases will utilize a community population-based approach, including the use of disease registries and community-oriented primary care methods. The practice will adhere to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, which will be embedded into the electronic health record, and will participate in continuous quality improvement and practice-based research. The management of patients with chronic diseases will involve the full multidisciplinary team and will include some care of patients in their homes. The use of telemedicine and other new technologies will be explored as ways of enhancing the management of these patients (page S17).

Commentary:  Perhaps what's most refreshing about the report is how the theme focuses on "How WE (family physicians) need to change to adapt to the future."   In contrast, last year the American College of Physicians conducted a similar study entitled "Revitalizing Internal Medicine:  Recommendations for Resolving Payment and Practice Hassle Issues".  That report can be summed up as focusing on "How everybody else needs to change."

DMAA's 1st Annual Integrated Healthcare Leadership
Summit: Co-Morbid Depression and Chronic Illness

June 7-8, 2004
JW Marriott, Washington, DC

The 1st Annual Integrated Healthcare Leadership Summit: Co-Morbid Depression and Chronic Illness features the most renowned Keynote Speakers in behavioral and chronic care.  The Summit was created to bring together stakeholders in the chronic and behavioral care community to address fragmentation in our current delivery system that hinders the optimization of care for patients with chronic conditions.  A full listing of the Summit Faculty, Program Details, and the Conference Advisory Committee can be found on the Summit Website

DMAA is offering  readers of E-CareManagement News a 20% discount on registration fees:  enter promotion code "promo c" and referred by "BHT"


Support Systems

Health Leaders, March 2004

Plans Encouraged By Activities That Lift Obesity's Heavy Burden
Managed Healthcare Executive, March 2004

Obesity and Telecare or "Tele-Obesity": A Workable Solution
Information for Tomorrow, February 2004

Obesity and Disability: The Shape of Things to Come
Rand Research Highlights, March 2004

Cost Of Treatment For Obesity-Related Medical Problems Growing Dramatically
Rand Corporation; March 9, 2004

New Data Available That Show Relationship Between Diabetes, Obesity, and Chronic Disease
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; January 21, 2004

Obesity Management: Prevention, Treatment and Coverage Strategies for Health Plans and Employers
May 19 - 20 2004;  Hotel Derek, Houston


No Significant Change in the Number of "Cyberchondriacs" – Those Who Go Online for Health Care Information
Harris Interactive; April 12, 2004

For the second year in a row, Harris Interactive finds no significant change in the numbers of  adults who have ever been online to look for health information.  In our latest survey on this topic, we find that 74% of all those online have looked online for health information at some time.

The main reason that the growth of cyberchondriacs slowed was that Internet penetration slowed.


Managed Care Redux: Health Plans Shift Responsibilities to Consumers
Center for Studying Health System Change, March 2004

[Health] plans...expressed little interest in returning to blanket pre-authorization requirements. Instead, plans are focusing on services that are high-cost or at high risk for inappropriate use.

Plans also continue to move away from primary care physician gatekeeping, giving consumers more liberal access to a wider range of services and providers.

Rather than focusing on traditional managed care practices that affect many members, such as prior-authorization requirements for a broad range of services, plans are instead ramping up care management for the small percentage of members that use a disproportionate share of resources. Disease management is one approach plans are actively using across product platforms ranging from more restrictive HMO products to more loosely managed preferred provider organization (PPO) products.


Your Daily Digital Doctor
Advanced analysis of home medical data can offer continuous care for patients with diabetes and other life-threatening chronic diseases.
MIT Technology Review; February 20, 2004

e-Health Comes Calling
On the trip to disease management, quality made the plans but cost does the driving
Healthcare Informatics, March 2004

Innovation, Demand, and Investment in Telehealth
Office of Technology Competitiveness, US Department of Commerce, February 2004
Press Release; February 19, 2004

How Health Plans are Using the Internet to Reach Customers: A Survey of Payor Web Sites
Cap Gemini Ernst & Young; February 19, 2004

Using Computerized Registries in Chronic Disease Care
California HealthCare Foundation, February 2004

Electronic Monitoring Can Improve Diabetes Care
Center for the Advancement of Health; February 16, 2004

IPTS Report - Special issue: Aspects of eHealth
European Science and Technology Observatory, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, 2004

Consumers Unwilling To Pay For Online Chats With Doctors
TechWeb News; March 10, 2004

Setting the Public Agenda For Online Health Search (report)
Press Release
URAC and Consumer Webwatch; February 2004

Geared Up For Health
Time; February 16, 2004

Smart Sensors That Detect and Delivery Therapies Will Transform the Future of Medical Care
Press Release, The Health Technology Center; April 5, 2004


More Care, Less Cost
Workforce Management, March 2004

DM Standards Off and Crawling
Managed Care Magazine, February 2004

Finding The ROI: Searching To Measure Returns On Disease Management Is Tough But Doable
Employee Benefit News; April 1, 2004

Disease Management For Diabetes
National Pharmaceutical Council, February 2004

Disease Management Programs: Improving health while reducing costs?
Center on an Aging Society, Georgetown University; January 2004

Large Employers Now Use DM To Cut Their Costs
Managed Care Magazine, January 2004

Desktop Resource Chart: Disease management strategies of managed care companies
Managed Healthcare Executive, January 2004

Delivering interventions for depression by using the internet: randomised controlled trial
British Medical Journal; January 31, 2004

Depression Link To Chronic Disease Goes Both Ways
Untreated depression's debilitating nature could trigger chronic disease, new research suggests.
American Medical News; March 15, 2004

COPD: Consequences of an Underrecognized Disease
Business and Health; February 13, 2004

E-CareManagement News is a complimentary e-newsletter sent to over 3,000 worldwide readers courtesy of Better Health Technologies, LLC <>.

For business and clinical decision makers who are developing innovative approaches to managing chronic diseases, Better Health Technologies is an eHealth and disease management consulting company that can assist you with strategy/business planning, finding financing, finding initial customers, and developing key partnerships.

Disclosure -- Samsung Electronics and FitSense Technology are clients of Better Health Technologies

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, as long as the use is not for resale or profit and the following copyright notice is included intact. Copyright © 2004, Better Health Technologies, LLC. All rights reserved


We welcome your opinions and comments. Write or call Vince Kuraitis JD, MBA at, (208) 395-1197 or Harry Leider MD, MBA at, (410) 252-7361.

[Top of Page]  [Home]  [About Us]  [Services]  [E-Newsletter]  [Care Management]  [Contact]