Bosch enters remote healthcare electronics market with Health Buddy

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Following similar moves by Intel and General Electric, auto parts and appliance maker Bosch said it will launch a new division today that will focus on remote healthcare monitoring and other “telehealth” technologies.

The division is built around Health Buddy, a monitoring device made by Health Hero Network, which was acquired by Bosch and will now be known as Robert Bosch Healthcare.

There are already tens of thousands of patients in the U.S. using the Health Buddy, many of those through clinical trials with Veterans Affairs and Medicare. The move by Bosch is another sign that the healthcare market is looking attractive to companies from the outside, given the state of profit margins in other industries and the relative cornucopia of opportunities in health electronics.

And with healthcare efficiency a major topic in the Obama administration, technology is expected to be a big part of the future plans of government and industry. Health Buddy lets chronically ill patients stay in daily contact with their doctors from their homes. That keeps them out of hospitals longer and lowers the costs of providing healthcare to them.

The VA and CMS recently published data based on trials of the Health Buddy, which showed that chronically ill patients treated with telehealth devices spend substantially less time in the hospital, and saved the VA system money as a result. It also found that a group of diabetic patients with telehealth devices lived longer than a control group in a multi-year trial.