Future of Health: Remote Diagnostics

Future of Health: Remote Diagnostics

Web-connected devices are now able to capture an individual’s health-related data and communicate that information to healthcare professionals situated anywhere.

Kyle Studstill
  • 2 august 2010

Remote Diagnostics

This post is part of a PSFK Consulting project aimed at providing insight into the Future of Health. Remote Diagnostics is one trend of fifteen that appears in our exploration of  how technology and access to information play a vital role in the ways that people will understand, manage and receive care whether that’s at home, in hospitals and clinics or in doctor’s offices.

Web-connected devices are now able to capture an individual’s health-related data and communicate that information to healthcare professionals situated anywhere. This information allows for distributed care enabling remote diagnoses, alerting doctors to changing conditions as they occur and providing a total picture of a person’s health so that necessary care can be administered.


  • Less Beds, Better Health – Treatment centers and hospitals can track patient health without patient visits.
  • Family-Centered – A patient’s family life and work is less disrupted with remote diagnosis.
  • Picturing Health – More relevant, accurate, real-time data of the health of populations can be gathered.
  • Foreign Expertise -Specialists can be utilized in geographically remote areas through technology-enabled consultations.

Supporting Examples for Remote Diagnostics

Remote Diagnostics 01

Web-Based Stethoscope For Remote Diagnostic
The Zargistelemed platform by Zargis Medical streams heart and lung sounds to anywhere in the world using a web-connected stethoscope. The sounds are transmitted in real-time either over the internet or a private network allowing for remote diagnosis and expert analysis. The platform is integrated with the Cardioscan heart sounds analysis software and the Zargis Stethassist heart and lung sounds visualization software.

Remote Diagnostics 01

Analysis Outsourced To Sleep Experts
Sleep apnea is a condition that is costly to diagnose and often requires that a patient spend several nights in clinic for proper analysis. Watermark Medical has developed an at-home device that helps doctors diagnose sleep apnea remotely. The sensor-equipped headband is worn by a patient for a night or two during their normal sleep cycles, measuring various metrics including blood-oxygen saturation, air flow, pulse rate and snoring levels. The data is downloaded to a personal computer, then sent to a network of sleep professionals, one of whom delivers a report to the physician within 48 hours, with a diagnosis and suggested treatment.

Remote Diagnostics 01

Pill Alerts Doctors When Swallowed
Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a prototype of an ingestible pill capsule containing a microchip and an antenna, which automatically alerts doctors or family members when it is ingested. After it is swallowed, the microchip in the pill transmits a signal to an external electronic device which then alerts a cell phone or computer, informing the patient’s doctor or family. The pill doesn’t require a battery as it is powered by short bursts of low-voltage charge sent by the external device.

Remote Diagnostics 01

Intelligent Body Monitor Preemptively Predicts Heart Failure
PiiX is a wireless, water-resistant sensor developed by Corventis that sticks to a patient’s chest, monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate, bodily fluids, and overall activity. It transmits this data to a central server for analysis and review by both doctor and patient. The designers are working to generate algorithms that can analyze the data and predict when a patient is on the verge of heart failure by comparing trends in his or her vital signs against other cases.

Remote Diagnostics 01

Web Connected Cuffs Monitor Hypertension From Afar
Kaiser Permanente Colorado recently concluded a trial to test if an easy home-based monitoring system would lead to better control of a patient’s hypertension. In the study, individuals were given a blood pressure cuff with a USB connection that transmitted readings to the american Heart association’s Heart 360 website and a Microsoft HealthVault account via a home computer. Clinical pharmacists and doctors looked at the reports and used standard treatment algorithms to figure out whose drugs needed tweaking. Patients were contacted by phone or email with any changes. Data suggests positive outcomes from the experiment.

Remote Diagnostics 01

Remote Patient Monitoring Via The iPhone
The AirStrip series of applications for the iPhone are a collection of mobile services that allow physicians to monitor patient status information away from medical centers in real-time. The technology platform taps into the hospital systems and provides waveform data sets such as heart beat, vital signs and imaging data via a secure connection from hospital to doctor.

About PSFK’s Future Of Health Report


PSFK’s Future of Health Report details 15 trends that will impact health and wellness around the world. Simple advances such as off-the-grid energy and the introduction of gaming into healthcare service offerings sit alongside more future-forward developments such as bio-medical printing. The report includes concepts for UNICEF based on the trends provided by the world’s leading advertising and design agencies. It is our hope that this report will inspire your thinking and lead to services, applications and technologies which will allow for more available, quality healthcare.


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