Philips and Qualcomm Life announced, on August 31, a strategic collaboration to advance personalized connected healthcare. This announcement was significant as it reported a partnership that included two leading telehealth platforms, the Philips HealthSuite and the Qualcomm Life 2Net. The two companies have indicated that they are combining their cloud-based data platforms because they represent an expanded ecosystem that permits data from a large array of devices—both in-hospital and remote—to become interoperable. In essence, this move is the next biggest development to an actual merger of the two companies.
In 2015, a report by the Congressional Research Service reported that Philips was the fifth largest global medical device provider. However, Philips is also noted for its data analytics and informatics strength. In addition to HealthSuite, Philips provides a number of connected health solutions including eCare Coordinator, eCare Companion, and Philips LifeLine Medical Alert Services.
The Qualcomm Life 2Net Platform is a scalable, cloud-based system that enables end-to-end medical device data connectivity, transmission, and integration with virtually any system, application, or portal.” Qualcomm Life also emphasizes that it provides a medical-grade platform.
Although Philips HealthSuite is an open, cloud-based platform that collects, compiles, and analyzes clinical and other data from a wide range of devices and sources, during an analysts briefing on September 7, 2016, Qualcomm Life’s President Rick Valencia indicated, that Philips is known for having built closed systems. He stated that Qualcomm Life has been working with Philips over the course of a two-year period whereby Qualcomm Life has helped Philips transition from its early phase closed systems that were often connected via plain old telephone service (POTS) to modern open-based systems.
Valencia also mentioned that by virtue of the agreement, Qualcomm Life now provides the connectivity that Philips needs to reach its goal of being more than a provider of boxes and devices. The current goal is to provide an end-to-end system that will enable Philips to be “managing the disease” using its own call centers and services on behalf of its clients comprising various best-in-class companies. It was stated that Philips decided that Qualcomm Life could do a better job of providing the critical component of connectivity via its medical-grade open system.
Valencia indicated that the other big news was that Qualcomm Life will be hosting the 2Net data on the Philips HealthSuite platform. He added, “They are building out a cloud, compliant medical-grade storage leveraging Amazon.” He noted that Qualcomm Life is going to be hosting on the HealthSuite digital platform in a traditional hosting agreement that offers no data rights.
Perhaps the really big signal within the news from Qualcomm Life was that the partnership opens an opportunity to all of its large array of ecosystem partners to host data on HealthSuite and to take advantage of “services” that Philips plans to build on top of that platform. It will be the ecosystem partner’s choice whether or not to take advantage of those unnamed services. Perhaps this dimension of the partnership will enable Philips to boost its position within the Clinical Decision Support Systems space, care coordination, healthcare informatics, and the Population Health Management (PHM) market because it now has the potential to gain access to HIPAA-compliant, anonymized patient data that may be used to develop advanced analytics or simply transport HIPAA-compliant patient data to EHR/EMRs.
Qualcomm Life also gained strength following the previous acquisition of Capsule Technologie, which permits more data normalization integration before the journey to the cloud. Qualcomm Life’s Capsule Technologie, is described as “a leading global provider of medical device integration and clinical data management solutions with more than 1,930 hospital clients in 39 countries.”
Qualcomm Life also offers:
- The 2Net Hub: A plug-and-play communications device that enables highly secure, medical-grade connectivity and effortless user experience.
- 2Net Mobile: A medical-grade software module that can be embedded in third-party mobile applications.
Both Qualcomm Life and Philips have been active in developing partnerships. For example, during the webinar, Valencia reviewed Qualcomm Life’s recent partnerships with UnitedHealthcare that aims to achieve patient engagement, along with a partnership aimed at enhancing drug device integration with Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim. Valencia also described a partnership with the MD Anderson Center that aims achieve clinical insight.
Meanwhile, Philips has also partnered with Validic, a US-based company that offers a technology platform for connectivity and access to digital health data from clinical and remote-monitoring devices, sensors, fitness equipment, wearables, and patient wellness applications.
So what? Philips, a leading medical device manufacturer for both the hospital and home also appears to be aiming to advance its informatics and analytics power. As a result of the partnership, Philips now gains the potential to offer a value proposition to members of Qualcomm Life’s well-established ecosystem that gathers a huge stream of secure and integrated patient data. The payoff to Philips would be access to anonymous data from millions of covered lives that could be used to further develop analytics and informatics services. Meanwhile, Qualcomm Life can permit its clients to achieve more customization based on access to the Philips API capabilities.
This alliance should make Philips much more significant in the evolving worlds of Population Health Management and Clinical Decision Support because of Qualcomm Life’s global ability to process and integrate multi-vendor data and deliver it to the Philips platform. The partnership also signals that Qualcomm Life may be most interested in data connectivity and secure transport rather than analytics.
This partnership also creates a huge spike in the progress towards the Medical Internet of Things. By virtue of hosting 2Net on Philips HealthSuite, a large number of medical devices, monitors, and sensors will be able to become interoperable as Philips will be in a position to gather a large trove of patient data and further transmit information to EHRs and EMRs.