"In marketing its Health Buddy remote telemonitoring system, Robert Bosch Healthcare has continually demonstrated market leadership in this increasingly dynamic, exceptionally complex market space", stated Zachary Bujnoch, Industry Analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "The company has worked early on to champion the validation of telehealth programmes. Through its associations with large public agencies and corporate partners, Bosch has strong brand recognition with its Health Buddy System - a prized asset in a competitive market. The system is well-received for its flexibility, simplicity of operation, and reasonable cost."
Telemedicine has been gaining interest in recent years because of its potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, especially for those with chronic conditions. Recent health care reform proposals have sparked even greater interest in telehealth technology. Many companies have entered the industry, offering remote patient monitoring devices used by patients at home that link via secure phone or Ethernet lines to web-based interfaces accessed by health care providers. However, a lack of reimbursement has been a stumbling block for many market entrants. Moreover, some systems involve a costly outlay for peripherals and service that is difficult for health care providers to justify without concrete cost-benefit evidence from clinical studies.
However, Robert Bosch Healthcare has worked closely with health agencies it has partnered with in implementing successful telehealth programmes and tracking data that demonstrates that such programmes are viable, economically feasible and scalable. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) deployed the Health Buddy System in veterans' homes as early as 2001 in a pilot telehealth programme, and today the device is used by over 30.000 VHA patients. The VHA recently published the results of four years of data from the programme showing a reduction in 19 percent in hospitalizations and 25 percent reduction in bed days of care for participating patients.
Robert Bosch Healthcare's relationship with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is also bearing fruit. The Health Buddy System has been a prime component of CMS's Care Management for High-Cost Beneficiaries Demonstration that began in 2006. The success of this programme in improving the care of and reducing costs for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries has led to the programme being extended for another three years. CMS has stated that the programme has "met and/or exceeded the savings target" established in the initial demonstration.
"Our close collaboration with the VHA and CMS, and the positive, measurable results we obtained through the Health Buddy programmes were cited by Frost & Sullivan as key reasons for our selection for this award", stated Derek Newell, vice president, health care telemedicine. "No other company in the telemedicine arena has established successful telehealth programmes to the scale we have. We have also gained a wealth of experience by adapting to and overcoming challenges during implementation in order to make telehealth truly beneficial for all constituents involved - patients, care providers, payers and public agencies."
Tens of thousands of patients in the United States currently use the Health Buddy System. The system assesses individuals with chronic conditions, gathering information not only about their vital signs and symptoms, but also about their behaviour and their knowledge of their condition. They are provided with feedback that allows them to better manage their conditions. The results of the daily assessments are transmitted to health care professionals who can identify complications early - before a patient might need to be admitted to a hospital. The goal is higher quality of life for patients and lower costs for their care. The Health Buddy System is currently used to support patients with a wide variety of conditions, including cardiovascular and pulmonary disease and diabetes.
The Bosch Group is a global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 282.000 associates generated sales of 45 billion euros (over $63 billion) in fiscal 2008. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in roughly 50 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Each year, Bosch spends more than 3 billion euros for research and development, and applies for over 3000 patents worldwide. The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering".
In North America, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive original equipment and aftermarket products, industrial automation and mobile products, power tools and accessories, security technology, thermo-technology, packaging equipment and household appliances. Bosch employs approximately 25.000 associates in more than 70 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, with reported sales of $9,5 billion in fiscal 2007.