Hill-Rom, Qualcomm launch first connected airway clearance system

VisiVest--Courtesy of Hill-Rom

Hill-Rom ($HRC) is launching an airway clearance system that wirelessly transmits data to an online health portal, allowing caregivers to make treatment decisions based on therapy adherence.

The VisiVest combines high-frequency chest-wall oscillation technology with wireless connectivity, powered by Qualcomm Life, a Qualcomm ($QCOM) subsidiary. The device applies gentle pressure the the chest wall to dislodge mucus from the bronchi and bronchioles in the lungs and move it to larger airways where it can be coughed up.

Patient usage data is remotely and securely transmitted to the cloud-based VisiView Health Portal using Qualcomm Life's 2net Hub, Hill-Rom said in a statement. Once transferred, the patient data is displayed in a dashboard format, allowing caregivers to tailor future treatments to each patient. This may increase therapy adherence and cut down on the risk of respiratory infections, hospitalizations and ultimately, medical costs.

A number of diseases and conditions can compromise a patient's ability to clear his or her airways, including cystic fibrosis, COPD and multiple sclerosis. Hill-Rom conducted a pilot study over the past few months, in which 160 patients from 7 cystic fibrosis clinics adopted the VisiVest.

"Now I'm not just telling my patients the more adherent they are to their therapy, the higher their pulmonary function numbers are likely to be. We can actually look at their adherence score together and have a more comprehensive conversation about their numbers," said Tom Newton, a pulmonary therapist at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, CA.

In June 2015, Hill-Rom acquired Welch Allyn for $2 billion, picking up patient-oriented diagnostics and monitoring products in the process."We are particularly excited about the opportunity to provide enhanced patient information connectivity solutions by combining Welch Allyn's patient monitoring and diagnostic capabilities with our bedside connectivity capability," said Hill-Rom CEO John Greisch at the time.

- here's the statement

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