Interview: Qualcomm’s Clint McClellan, Senior Director of Market Development

The mobile phone industry has done wonders for billions of people around the world. With mobile phones and mobile data networks, individuals are able to always be in touch and gives us the ability to interact with those around us in new ways.

Mobile industry bellwether Qualcomm is trying to take innovations found in the mobile industry and marry them with the health care industry. Health care, by in large, is an industry that has just woken up to the era of information technology. Many health care providers and facilities have implemented electronic medical records and other innovations. However, the health care industry has yet to realize the innovations mobile handsets has to offer.

I interviewed Clint McLellen, Senior Director of Market Development with the Health and Life Sciences group at Qualcomm. He showed me some great Qualcomm products including a handset for diabetics, when combined with a sensor, will perpetually show a diabetic patient what their insulin levels are. Other innovations include monitoring and data gathering of health-related information for medical care providers.

The interview follows:

JH: Qualcomm is known for cell phones and chipsets. What opportunities and challenges do you guys seen in the medical industry?

CM: The opportunities are boundless. Using the new power that is found in a mobile handset and ubiquitous networks, we can gather data and diagnostics that will help medical care providers. We are all aware that there is a shortage of health care professionals in the world. CardioNet is a good example of the types of tools and services that Qualcomm sees in the future.

We want to help people use the power of the diagnostics and computer-based technology to allow doctors to get relevant data on their patients and monitor their health.

We’re also looking to improve compliance. Using SMS and other reminders, we can help people to remember to take their medications on time. We’re using an enhanced SMS that also includes a picture of the pill in the message to help the elderly and other patients who might have to take multiple medications throughout the day. We also have a solution that will remind customers to re-fill their prescriptions when the time comes each month.

We’re looking to disrupt an industry that has yet to embrace technological revolutions.

JH: What role does Qualcomm play in the technologies you’ve described?

CM: We’re not only developing the handsets that will go out to the customer, but we’re offering the backend services that power CardioNet and similar services. Also, we’re working with medical device companies to mobilize their devices and offer them greater utility.

As a company, we’ve developed an emergency response utility called the PERS – Personal Emergency Response Service. This pager sized device has an accelerometer, GPS, and is cellular and will allow an elderly person to seek help when they’ve fallen or otherwise need help. PERS clips on to your belt or shirt pocket for easy reach when you need it.

JH: Are you guys looking at emerging markets as well?

CM: There’s an issue with HIV and trying to battle non-compliance. Compliance is a huge problem with the HIV-affected population and we have been in talks with companies on trying to build solutions to making an impact on this front.