ROCHESTER, Minn. — In May 2009, Mayo Clinic launched its Health Manager, a free Internet application powered by Microsoft HealthVault that allowed patients to store medical information online and receive updated clinical advice from Mayo doctors, based on that data.
Only one problem. There was no business model behind the consumer application.
Dr. Sidna Tulledge-Scheitel, medical director of Mayo Clinic Global Products and Services, hopes to change that soon. Speaking at the Mayo Clinic’s Transformation 2010 Conference, Tulledge-Schietel unveiled a beefed-up version of Health Manager that creates a continuous, real-time relationship between caregivers and patients, especially those suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes.
Using advanced sensors that upload real-time information to a central data repository, health-care professionals can provide a circle of care around the patient that extends beyond a physician’s office.
“We can be available to patients 365 days of the year,” Tulledge-Schietel told conference attendees during her speech. “We are no longer limited to 21 minutes in a doctor’s office.”
For example, a woman who loves to jog discovers she has diabetes. She now is reluctant to run because she fears her blood sugar will fall too low.
Under Mayo’s vision for its program, the woman would wear wireless blood sugar monitors when she runs. If something goes wrong, Health Manager would alert a trusted person (spouse, neighbor, friend) that’s nearest to her location.
“We want to create a network of support surrounding the patient,” said Brian Nass, chair of Mayo Clinic Global Products and Services.
Health-care providers also would receive “escalating alerts” that let them know when to intervene if a patient’s condition becomes serious.
In addition, Health Manager could send real-time nutrition information to patients, based on their dietary needs. For instance, the diabetic woman shopping at a grocery store could scan food items using her iPhone. The system would advise her whether or not to consume the food, based on her blood sugar level and what she already has eaten that day.
Right now, the system exists only in bits and pieces, Tulledge-Schietel told her audience. Mayo hopes to create the full version of Health Manager in a year, she said.