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Proteus Digital Health: A Digital Health Trailblazer

August 2, 2012

I sent the following announcement to 12,062 Digital Health group members on August 2, 2012:

Proteus Digital Health: A Digital Health Trailblazer

Dear Digital Health group members,

As most of you have seen, Proteus Digital Health received de novo (i.e. no predicate or similar product on the market) FDA 510(k) clearance this week for their Ingestible Event Marker (IEM), a biomedical sensor that monitors medication adherence. In a happy coincidence, I had just congratulated company CEO Andrew Thompson on their name change from Proteus Biomedical to Proteus Digital Health. (More on that in a bit.)

When I saw the FDA news posted in the group I reached out to Andrew again and asked if he’d be kind enough to comment on the significance of their achievement, particularly in terms of consumer applications. Here’s what he had to say:

“Our products combine ingested products with sensors that measure your physiologic response and mobile software applications designed for use by consumers and their carers. The platform is being commercialized by Proteus and our global partners in a variety of applications that span lifestyle tools, caregiver solutions and digital medicines. Although the medical profession focuses a lot on compliance, we have found that these digital health feedback systems have broad applications for many consumers who want to understand better how to use their medicines, titrate the dose and measure the benefits they receive. We’ve tested it in hundreds of people for thousands of days across many areas – diabetes, hypertension, bipolar, schizophrenia, TB, sports and fitness, elder care to name a few – and the breadth of uses and potential for value creation is substantial.”

I also asked Dr. Eric Topol, author of “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution will Create Better Healthcare“, his thoughts on some of the biggest applications: “The Proteus pill would be especially useful for those conditions needing the highest adherence in order to be effective; examples are tuberculosis or schizophrenia.”

My own thought is that the Proteus platform will quickly demonstrate the enormous potential of digital health solutions to improve our health and the delivery of healthcare.

Back to the Proteus name change and the term “Digital Health”. As Neil Versel recently pointed out while also mentioning the name change of the group from Wireless Health to Digital Health – “Mobile and wireless health do not exist in a vacuum. They are part of the wider fields of health IT, medical devices and health informatics.” While not all medical devices are digital, the stack of digital technologies and trends converging with health and medicine – Wireless Sensors and Devices; Genomics; Social Networking; Mobile Connectivity and Bandwidth; Imaging; Health Information Systems; the Internet; and Computing Power plus the Data Universe – certainly represent a powerful groundswell improving our health and healthcare.

Neil concludes that “Sometimes we focus too much on labels when we should be concentrating on making healthcare safer, more efficient and more affordable.” I concur, and think that it’s all “medicine”, as Dr. Jay Sanders, the “father of telemedicine”, once told me. But as we know, labels and tags serve many useful purposes, and in the case of the digital revolution converging with health and medicine, my preferred label – the one that neatly captures the trends we’re seeing – is Digital Health.

Finally, the group has surpassed 12,000 members, which is very exciting, as I tweeted:
Woo-hoo! 12,000+ people catalyzing #DigitalHealth #mHealth #HealthIT #Genomics & #Health20 – aka @EricTopol’s #CDoM http://linkd.in/DHGrp

Best regards,
Paul Sonnier

Founder, 12,000+ member Digital Health group on LinkedIn
Head of Digital Health Strategy, Popper and Company
Mentor, Blueprint Health
Twitter: @Paul_Sonnier

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