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Health Care Reform Paving the Way for New Technologies

Stocks in this article: IRBT AAPL

"Unless we look at automating the care continuum, we're going to have a significant challenge," said Alan Portela, president and CEO of AirStrip. With large numbers of patients entering the health care system and relatively few primary care physicians available, we now need to take the data that are clinically relevant to those physicians, whereever they are, rather than have them go to a location to look at the data, which is the model today."

According to Portela, the Affordable Care Act's emphasis on value-based care is another reason physicians will need increased access to patient data.

"We're going from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement," said Portela. "That means I'm going to be judged on your outcome, more than you just coming into my office. So doctors are starting to say, well, if you're going to change the way you pay me, you'd better give me all the information about these patients so I can make an informed decision. I need to know your chief complaint. I need to know your family history. Sometimes you don't get access to all that information, especially when the patient is unconscious coming into the emergency department."

Finally, another company that's gained traction in the health care monitoring space is AliveCor, which makes an easy-to-use heart monitor for mobile devices. The AliveCor Heart Monitor snaps onto the back of a smartphone such as an Apple (AAPL) iPhone or Samsung Galaxy and provides a clinical-quality electrocardiogram (ECG) recording of heart activity. Patients touch two small sensors on the back of the Heart Monitor to see a live view of their heart activity and can forward the data to their medical team for review. The device has garnered positive reviews and is available to patients with a prescription for $199.

As the ongoing shutdown of the federal government makes clear, the country remains deeply polarized over health care reform. Most Americans either embrace the Affordable Care Act warts and all, or want to lure it outside, strangle it and bury it in the desert, Breaking Bad-style. Still, if anxious thoughts about Obamacare make your heart skip a beat, don't panic: Thanks, in part, to health care reform, there's an app for that, or maybe a robot.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Doug Mollenauer mixes writing, running and traveling with bouts of technology product marketing and consulting. An East Coast native, he now resides in Santa Cruz, Calif., where the surfboard by his front door is just for show. He holds an M.A. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Amherst College.
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