On Thursday, Google and IBM will unveil a new initiative that will allow Google Health, a site where users can store and track information about their medical history, to connect to and stream data from medical devices. In demonstrations, IBM and Google fitted Wi-Fi radios to gadgets like heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, scales and blood-sugar measurement meters, allowing the devices to communicate with a PC and feed real-time medical information directly into Google’s online records.
Hooking up those devices to the Web, IBM argues, will offer a new immediacy and granularity of health monitoring. A user can remotely track the blood pressure readings or glucose levels of a diabetic parent living alone, or stream his or her medical information like weight or heart rate directly to a doctor or physical trainer.
“If there’s something abnormal, you can catch it before you have an episodic intervention, like going to the emergency room,” says Dan Pelino, manager of IBM’s health care division. “This is like OnStar for a patient, keeping constant information about you and sending alerts even before you have a problem.”
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