CellTower

Verizon and PatientKeeper announce
that the PatientKeeper platform can now be accessed through Verizon's
wireless network. Each wireless carrier's wireless network is somewhat
proprietary, so IP based applications must be tested (and sometimes
tweaked) to run properly. Whether this announcement means anything more
that test and validation on Verizon's network is not clear.

In other news, Sprint announced that they'd completed their acquisition
of Nextel. They passed up a perfectly good new company name (Sextel)
for Sprint Nextel Corporation -- boring. Nextel has traditionally been
strong with contractors using their "push-to-talk," a feature that for
many years was unique. Numerous hospitals have also acquired Nextel
microsites and use the handsets for internal communications.

Sprint has made one of the earliest and biggest pushes into the health
care market, and is the first and only carrier to implement Qualcomm's
third party provisioning system (called QConnect). This allows vendors selling products
with embedded radios to directly provision their customer's devices on
the Sprint network. This self-provisioning system eliminates 2
objections medical device vendors have to using wireless carrier
networks. By allowing vendors to provision their own customer's devices
on the carrier's network, they can maintain a more direct client/vendor
relationship, keeping the carrier at an arm's length. Wireless carriers
provide notoriously poor provisioning service, so the vendor can
provide their own service to their customers.

Qualcomm's been shopping this capability around for a couple of years,
but I'm not aware of any device vendors signing up. Nor have I heard of
any other carriers offering this service. As remote monitoring for
chronic disease gains adoption, services of this type will eventually
be adopted.

UPDATE: I talked with the CEO of Triage Wireless today and learned that his company and CardioNet are both using Qualcomm's QConnect capability (press release). More on Qualcomm's efforts in health care here.
From a coverage standpoint, Sprint probably has the third biggest
coverage footprint (after Verizon and Cingular). Their support of
QConnect was probably the key factor in signing up Triage and CardioNet
to their network.