Have we arrived at another, multi-functioning generation of telecare?

click to enlarge Profiled in Reuters in an article on home monitoring for older adults is a desktop-sized, sleekly telecare unit called OnKöl (that’s On Call for those who wonder what an umlaut is doing there) for the home market. Debuting back in January at International CES, it monitors activity in an area of the home (that green eye looks like a vintage radio DuMont Magic Eye tuner) and is extended through home monitoring sensors such as bed, door and window. Like Lively, it also has an in-home wrist/pendant emergency alert device and is self-installed. But what’s new about it is its telehealth side–connecting via Bluetooth and USB cable to typical medical monitors such as weight scales, blood glucose and pressure, as well as a med reminder setup. These seem to be brand-agnostic. A unique safety feature is a caller ID recorder for tracking calls. Activity and health information are stored, with alerts going to designated family members. According to the article, the founder designed it for monitoring his mother recovering from colon cancer. The Milwaukee-based company is financed through Series A (Capital Midwest Fund, $2.8 million), moving towards Series B, and OnKöl will be in market early next year. What is not apparent either from these articles or the website is its connectivity (Wi-Fi? Cellular? POTS?), its pricing, how the information is reported or other investors. A small drawback on the telehealth side is that there’s no manual input for vital signs

Also Reuters profiled Nortek Security, which purchased Libris from Numera [TTA 3 July], along with the surprising disclosure that Nortek’s customer ADT is interested in expanding into health and wellness. (Having once marketed the QuietCare platform, this counts as a ‘Back to the Future’ moment.) Another surprise is long-time telehealth company Ideal Life intent to go direct to consumer with its own system. Many signs that telecare is redeveloping past behavioral monitoring by blending in elements of telehealth and other safety-related features.

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