Vendors Have Big Plans for Implantable Devices

Business Week has a story reviewing some of the things that implant vendors have in the pipeline. Also noted is the tension between ever more expensive devices and the need to justify their increased costs to payors. Advanced technology is great, as long as it's cost effective.

Vendors are looking to extend sensor capabilities to measure things like intracardiac pressures and fluid levels in lungs. Wireless connectivity will provide alarm notification and daily surveillance data to physicians, and feedback and control between sensors, implanted pumps and controllers. Miniaturization is making batteries last longer, while making devices quicker and easier to implant.

It seems we may be entering a golden age for implant technology.

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Microsoft Origami Rumors

Why, you may ask, the new obsession with pocketable Windows devices? The point of care market really needs a computer for clinicians, and the current offerings have, well, limitations:

  1. Tablet PCs are too heavy and unwieldy - their adoption in health care has dropped like a lead balloon.
  2. COWs (computers on wheels) are great for major tasks like meds administration, but you can't push it along with you all the time; also some older hospitals just can't accommodate COWS due to space limitations.
  3. PDAs are under powered (both CPU and battery life): have too small a screen for nurses in their 50s; software is tied to specific PDA models due to OS tweaks for PDA hardware implementations; and none of the vendors at the point of care are working on a common platform - hospitals will have to buy a PDA for each application for each user - like that's going to happen.
  4. Wireless phone vendors aren't stepping up with a converged phone / data device to serve as a common platform.

It seems the pocketable Windows device, like that offered by OQO (and rumored from Intel and Microsoft) has the potential to address most of the above issues. So here goes with the latest rumor.

An image (at right) has surfaced that's alleged to be of the Microsoft Origami. This is as likely to be a Photoshop fake as real. In any event, they seem to waste a lot of real estate on buttons and such to the detriment of screen size.

UPDATE: Here's another that's also too big for clinicians.

UPDATE: Jim Maughan is not sure the view is worth the climb in the comment below (that little blue “comment” link right under this post). Beyond device attributes, he highlights the importance of the user interface and the overall effectiveness of the solution in the adoption of hand held computing in health care. Of course, he's right - and provides some good examples. Read the whole thing.

UDPATE: This from Gizmodo's post on Origami:

Robert Scoble [a Microsoft blogger] attempted some sort of preemptive spin yesterday, walking through the categories of ‘device killers’ that the Origami was not.
(Scoble said—to quickly sum up—that the Origami was not an iPod, OQO,
PSP, Nokia N90, Treo 700w, or Palm killer, nor was it a portable Xbox.)

Clearly, the Origami is an OQO
killer, at least by design. Both devices are pocket-sized computers
that run full-blown version of Windows XP, including Tablet PC Edition.
(Although the OQO has a built-in keyboard, while the first Origami
models do not.) Perhaps Scoble meant “larger and less convenient than
an OQO, which would prevent it from killing the device.”


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UPDATE on DexCom FCC Waiver Below

Due to a software glitch with my blog software, the wrong version of the post FCC Deals with MICS - Vendors Help and Hinder was published. I corrected the error this morning - check it out.

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Intel Readies Handheld PC Concept


They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Intel showed the prototype called Ruby (pictured at right) at IDF Japan last April. Now it seems that Intel has put up a teaser site with one of those annoying Flash animations - you know the ones you always click “skip intro” to avoid. The current speculation is that Ruby and Microsoft's Origami are somehow related.

Ruby is clearly not as svelte as the OQO device. And what's with the keyboard? The trade-off between hiding the keyboard via a mechanical slider (like the OQO and Side Kick) that introduces a potential mechanical point of weakness and exposing the keyboard to get a one piece design (at the cost of additional size) is obvious. Time will tell which approach is preferred by the market. I remember back when AT&T Wireless wouldn't sell flip phones because they thought they were inherently weak mechanically - here the market expressed a clear preference for the “weaker” form factor. I can see too why they put the keyboard on the side - a qwerty keyboard along the bottom in landscape mode would add much more to the size of the device.

To go back to the size thing - we are talking about “pocketable” Windows devices, right? It seems that OQO is still ahead on the miniaturization front. I guess we'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what kind of specs Ruby has on release.

Be sure to check out this post on the OQO device too.

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