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Five Questions with Rick Valencia

The vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life addresses mobile medical and the future of healthcare and new technology.

Rick Valencia

By Reina V. Slutske

As vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life, Rick Valencia leads the company’s healthcare innovation team. His 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship is translated into the company’s product development and technology strategy, particularly when it comes to mobile health. He will be speaking more about his experience at MD&M East in Philadelphia June 17 in an opening keynote. He recently spoke to MD+DI about the current state of healthcare and Qualcomm’s recent advancements in a cloud platform for health care.

-What specifically is Qualcomm Life addressing in consumerization and innovation in the wireless health space?
Our award-winning, cloud-based 2net Platform and Hub enables wireless health companies to connect their devices and applications to the cloud in order to mobilize healthcare. The anonymized health data is then stored, aggregated, and shared with the user in a format that is personalized and actionable.

-What are the biggest challenges you see for companies with the trend toward wireless?
Qualcomm Life launched 2net in 2011 to help medical device manufacturers connect disparate medical devices. We now have over 250 wireless health collaborators using our interoperable, HIPAA-compliant 2net Hub and Platform to store and aggregate health data. Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for connectivity, our job is to demonstrate to physicians and providers how wireless health technology will reduce cost pressures while improving patient outcomes and provider efficiencies.

-Why is consumerization and innovation in wireless so important, particularly for the medical device world?
The nation’s health care system is under tremendous pressure to reduce costs while serving a growing aging population. The baby boomer generation is fast becoming patients and caregivers simultaneously and, while physicians will always be a crucial part of the solution, their role must evolve to meet the growing health care demand with fewer available caregivers. The digitization of health information will inform and optimize the doctor/patient relationship, engaging both parties in healthcare decisions. We should be thinking about health as it relates to our day-to-day lives, not just in a clinical care setting. With mobile being the largest technology platform in the history of mankind, it offers unprecedented ubiquity and access to care.

-What should medical device industry experts know on this topic?
With the growth of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and a shift in reimbursement in the U.S., providers are more motivated than ever to reduce hospital readmissions and overall healthcare costs. Wireless health technology can facilitate this change at every step of the way. From digital clinical trials to interoperability of devices and applications, health technology will be an invaluable resource as medical device manufacturers strive to meet the needs of the new reimbursement landscape.

-Part of the theme of the MD&M East conference is where medical devices are going in the next 30 years. Where do you see wireless fitting in that future?
The medical device industry will continue to look to technology to lower healthcare costs without sacrificing quality of care. Ultimately, I see the medical device industry following the same trends as the high tech industry:
1. Taking technologies that work but may be very expensive and reducing the size,
2. Reducing cost to broaden access,
3. Converging hardware, software and communications to bring integrated intelligence to devices, and
4. Focusing on consumer needs and demands to make devices more convenient and personalized.

 Reina V. Slutske is the assistant editor for MD+DI.

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