SAN DIEGO, Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an effort to deliver quality care at a lower cost for high risk pregnancies, the West Wireless Health Institute (WWHI) today began a groundbreaking year-long research study with the Carlos Slim Health Institute on WWHI's first fetal monitoring experimental wireless medical device (Sense4Baby™) in Yucatan, Mexico.
"This is a great opportunity for our project and is an important step forward in helping to lower the cost of health care," said Don Casey, CEO of WWHI. "Collaborating with the Carlos Slim Health Institute leverages our mutual goals of extending the reach of patient care anywhere, by providing wireless remote monitoring of patients that can be conducted by clinicians and community health workers."
According to UNICEF, 80 percent of maternal deaths worldwide could be prevented if women had access to essential obstetric and basic health care services, including prenatal monitoring technology. There is a pressing need for a low cost solution that will enable hospital grade medical care in rural and remote settings. Access to preventive monitoring technology will lower costs by mitigating adverse outcomes associated with high risk pregnancies.
In 2010, WWHI developed Sense4Baby™, a hand-held, portable wireless device that provides critical maternal and fetal monitoring in high-risk pregnancies at a lower cost by enabling a health care provider to monitor the patient anywhere there is cellular service.
After today's demonstration of the Sense4Baby™ technology for the Governor and Minister of Health of the State of Yucatan, WWHI and Carlos Slim Health Institute officials announced their joint plan to embark on a two-phase research study in Mexico. Through this research collaboration, WWHI will have access to a health care delivery system on the Amanece network that will enable the team to study the impact of technology on reducing the cost of health care delivery, as well as to better understand the clinical benefits for a high-risk population.
"Thanks to this alliance, we can place the state of Yucatan in the vanguard of health services to take care of mothers and their babies, with the objective that more people live longer and healthy lives," said Marco Antonio Slim Domit, President of the Board of Directors, Carlos Slim Health Institute.
The first phase of the research study will initiate in the second quarter of 2012 and will include deploying the device in a kit that also integrates testing devices for blood pressure, blood glucose and protein in urine, to up to ten clinics in the state of Yucatan in Mexico, so that physicians will be able to use it in the primary care setting for routine care for expectant mothers. The second phase of the study will begin in the fall of 2012, equipping community health workers with the Sense4Baby™ kit and enabling them to monitor high risk pregnancies from the comfort of the mother's home.
In addition to the Yucatan-based research study, WWHI is investigating opportunities to engage in additional research collaborations throughout rural and urban regions of the United States.
ABOUT THE WEST WIRELESS HEALTH INSTITUTE The West Wireless Health Institute (www.westwirelesshealth.org) is the only medical research organization in the world focused on lowering health care costs through technology and innovation. The Institute was founded in 2009 by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, and is based in San Diego, California, the global center for health care innovation.