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Culture & Religion

In Boston, Telemedicine Brings Doctors And Patients Together

Partners HealthCare's new system may be one of the first in the nation to wirelessly populate official electronic health records with data collected by an increasing number of remote home monitoring devices.

What’s the Latest Development?


Last month, Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based local consortium of hospitals and other health organizations, launched a system that lets patients collect data from home medical devices — glucose meters, bathroom scales, and the like — and transmit it wirelessly to a hospital database via their computer or mobile device. An article in Monday’s (July 29) Boston Globe notes that the system best serves those with chronic conditions, drastically reducing the number of visits to doctors’ offices and giving patients more of an active role in monitoring their health.

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What’s the Big Idea?

The Boston system may be one of the first to closely integrate patient-collected data from at-home instruments into electronic health records, but it’s only the latest effort to tap into the growing quantified self movement. A Berg Insights report released earlier this year showed that “2.8 million patients worldwide used home-based remote monitoring services in 2012 and [that number is expected] to grow about 27 percent between 2011 and 2017.” While the infrastructure for telemedicine isn’t yet available for everyone, increased financial pressures on hospitals will no doubt strengthen the appeal of patient-driven technologies.

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