Telehealth is where technology meets healthcare. It was an already rapidly growing field and got a tremendous boost due to the pandemic. Analysts estimate that the global telehealth services market grew by 91% over the course of the year 2020 and reached about $80 billion. It is expected to reach about $397 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of over 25%.
Healthcare for at-home recovery
Investments in telehealth are driven by soaring healthcare costs, aging population, labor shortages, and greater prevalence of chronic diseases. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 Americans have at least one chronic disease and it is the leading cause of disability, death, and skyrocketing costs.
The clinical effectiveness of telehealth was well established but its wider use during the pandemic led to greater acceptance by providers and government agencies. According to a recent study 88% of healthcare providers surveyed have invested or are evaluating investments in remote health monitoring for managing patients’ chronic conditions. People are also getting comfortable accessing healthcare services from home.
Technology space for remote healthcare
The remote healthcare ecosystem includes three broad categories: the healthcare providers and hospitals, the remote care services providers, and the companies that provide technologies to enable and enhance at-home care.
Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) is one of the many remote care service providers that has partnered with over 220 leading medical centers spanning 46 states to serve nearly 225,000 patients across 90 disease conditions. HRS offers a range of customized devices and software apps that arm the clinicians with the tools they need to provide exceptional care to patients at home.
Enabling remote health care requires the ability to make vital measurements using a variety of sensors such as pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, respiratory rate monitors, blood glucose monitors, etc. But more attractive sensors are the ones that are embedded within the homes of the patients. For example, sensors may be inside personal items such as smartphones, smartwatches, and televisions. Sensors could also be integrated into toilets, sinks, fridges, showers, smart mirrors, etc. All these devices generally have wireless connectivity to a centralized controller or an app on a smartphone.
Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging
A key to effective use of a monitoring technology is that it should be transparent, non-intrusive and must respect the privacy of the individual. Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging is such a technology that uses the Wi-Fi signals to generate imaging data that can be interpreted to get insight about the health of the people through their movements in the home or nursing home where they live. Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging coupled with AI can help track movement, gait, body position, and even breathing patterns of people. This kind of monitoring provides continuous information about the general health of the individual as opposed to some other sensors that provide information only when they are actively used.
Since Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging is based on radio signals to generate a signature for the body movement, it does not pose any privacy concerns the way a camera might. This allows the use of Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging even in bathrooms which is where often the seniors have high risk of falling. Further, since Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging uses radio waves, it works just as well in dark as in light and also through walls.
Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging is based on radio signals and is embedded into Wi-Fi routers and IoT devices that are already being used for connectivity in a home or other healthcare facility. This avoids any custom installation which saves cost and is truly transparent to the people living in these spaces.
Remote healthcare service providers can enhance their sensing capabilities and improve the quality of the care they provide by adding the Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging capability to their portfolio of sensors. For remote healthcare services, it is critical to select routers with connectivity chipsets from Celeno that have built-in Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging. Celeno’s chipsets are built on the latest Wi-Fi 6/6E standard and what makes them truly stand out is the integration of two complete transceivers that can seamlessly double-function to simultaneously support Wi-Fi connectivity and Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging. All this technology is packed into a compact chip for small form factor consumer products. This makes it easier to integrate the Wi-Fi Doppler Imaging capability in a seamless manner.