Intermountain Shares Tech Goodies, Big Data Plans

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , March 19, 2013

"It's companies that have real businesses who want to make stronger impacts in healthcare," Holston says. "They need a little effort in making sure their products work well in healthcare, or are in a position to tweak to do what we need to do, and in some cases, yeah, build the whole thing."

Another Intermountain product concept, a little further off in the pipeline, Holston calls the Life Detector. "So instead of all the monitoring that occurs, and there are plenty of monitors out there for collecting vitals, we flipped the idea and said so there's a number of situations where we want to detect—death," he says.

It's a patch containing a single-line EKG, not for recording, but simply to note if the signal ceases. At that point, a window of opportunity exists for reviving the patient, whether it be a SIDS-prone baby, or a patient on suicide watch.

"I can't guarantee you can do anything about it, but I can give you a window to do something, to try," Holston says. It could activate a mobile phone app that calls 911 or starts telling someone things to try.

And, in those cases where the victim is too far gone, it can also alert authorities before a loved one or neighbor has to encounter a body hours or days later. Holston's own brother found their mother in that state, "and that's an image that will always be in his mind," he says.

The point of many tech innovations, Holston says, is to "chew away at the problem of how healthcare works and how we can improve, and how we can save, or how we can bring dignity to life or whatever the case may be."

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