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Tech Industry

TV keeps track of patients' health

A test program from Royal Philips Electronics connects chronically ill heart patients to their care providers via TV.

Royal Philips Electronics is testing a program for connecting chronically ill heart patients to their health care providers through a television.

Philips' Motiva technology allows patients to use their home televisions to communicate with their care providers over a broadband connection, the company said Friday. The pilot program, in conjunction with the Cardiovascular Associates of the Delaware Valley and Comcast, has enrolled 60 patients.

"We envision this technology as a 'virtual house call' to promote daily contact with patients that have chronic disease and who would benefit from continuous monitoring and care," Dr. Jeffrey Kramer, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and principal investigator for Cardiovascular Associates, said in a statement.

The virtual office visit is established by placing a set-top box in a patient's home with monitoring devices that measure vital signs such as weight and blood pressure.

Patients also receive non-emergency health care reminders, such as their medication schedule, and interactive educational information. The system will eventually allow family members living elsewhere to connect to the system and engage in two-way communication to provide moral support.

The pilot test is designed to gauge how well patients and health care providers use the interactive system when communicating and sharing medical information.