Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) have launched Wired for Health, a clinical study aimed at evaluating whether the integration of wireless technologies, online social networks and medicine can have a direct effect on health care spending. Collaborators in the effort include Scripps Health; Qualcomm Life Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated; HealthComp; and Accenture.
“We are excited to embark on one of the first robust, cross-industry studies using multiple mobile medical sensors to determine whether we can lower health care costs and resource consumption through wireless health technology,” said Eric Topol, M.D., director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and chief academic officer of Scripps Health.
STSI is a National Institutes of Health-supported consortium led by Scripps Health in collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute and several other scientific partners.
Researchers at STSI have begun enrolling 200 study participants with common chronic conditions – diabetes, high blood pressure or heart arrhythmias – who also have generated high health care costs over the past year. Participants are being recruited among Scripps Health’s 13,500 employees and their family members through HealthComp, a third-party administrator of health care services.
“Scripps Health is leading the effort to translate the latest medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective treatments,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health. “Through this study, we will be able to demonstrate where these technologies are providing the most economic value to the health care system and where there is room for improvement.”
The research effort also reinforces the Scripps Wellness program and health plan, which aim to promote health in an economically responsible manner by keeping employees well and giving them the tools they need to manage their own health.
Half of the study participants will be issued a mobile health device relevant to their condition for use over a six month period. The devices being used in the study are a Withings Blood Pressure Monitor, an AliveCor Heart Monitor and an iBGStar Blood Glucose Meter. Data from these devices will be securely gathered and delivered via Qualcomm Life’s 2net Hub and Platform, a secure cloud-based platform that collects and transmits information from remote medical sensors.
Participants in the wireless intervention group will be able to engage in health sessions and track their conditions through a Web portal or mobile device experience, powered by Qualcomm Life’s HealthyCircles Care Orchestration Engine, an enterprise platform designed for care coordination and management. HealthComp will leverage Qualcomm Life’s HealthyCircles care management toolset to monitor the health status of participants and to deliver the appropriate and relevant interventions. While control group members will not be given any of the mobile sensors, participants in both groups will be enrolled in HealthComp’s disease management program which includes one-on-one nurse education and training on their chronic condition.
The team of researchers at STSI, led by Cinnamon Bloss, Ph.D., will evaluate the frequency, purpose and cost of health interventions, such as medical screenings and emergency room visits received by the participants during the study period.
“The data will enable us to assess whether patients who actively track their health conditions through mobile devices and interact with their health care team through a web portal will have more success managing their health conditions and, as a result, spend fewer health care dollars,” said Bloss, director of social sciences and bioethics at STSI.
Funding for the study is being provided by Scripps Health and through in-kind device and service donations from Qualcomm Life, HealthComp, Accenture, Withings, AliveCor and Sanofi Diabetes.
Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.