DURHAM — Lamprey Networks Inc. has a big role in health care, specifically home care.
The Durham company on Jenkins Court is at the forefront, in technical terms, of interoperable medical device connectivity.
It writes the code that allows devices to connect remotely — through a smartphone, for example — so that a recently released hospital patient or elderly individual’s medical condition can be monitored at home by a doctor, a home health agency, or even family.
“We’re trying to move individuals into the home care environment, but make sure they’re safe and well in the home,” said Chuck Parker, Lamprey Network’s vice president of business development.
From monitoring the individual’s temperature to taking a blood pressure reading to checking up on glucose levels to checking their weight, those are just a sample of the applications the software talks to in order to collect data.
All in all, according to Parker, there are 53 medical devices that can send data remotely using a Bluetooth connection with Lamprey’s code.
Parker said there is a home equivalent for almost all of the medical monitoring equipment found in a hospital, and Lamprey Network’s software can connect to it.
That allows hospitals to release patients to their homes for recovery, and keep them there. Hospitals pay a penalty on reimbursements if their readmission rates are too high. Home monitoring allows more people to age in place in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of their homes.
“Most individuals want to be home anyway,” Parker said. “It’s a win-win if you can find a safe way to monitor them. Secured data can be transmitted to a hospital, for example, to monitor a just-released surgical patient. Families can be the recipient of data for an aging loved one who has remained in his or her home.
In late January, Lamprey Networks attended the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress in Dubai, the second largest health care trade show in the world and the largest in the Middle East.
It was there with Intrinsyk Medical, a Salem company that designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices related to diabetes treatment, as part of the Best of New England booth, which is a partnership of trade offices in the region and US Commercial Service.
This was the first time the New Hampshire Office of International Commerce had a presence at this trade show, giving the state an opportunity to showcase one of its fast growing sectors — medical technology.
“About 7,000 people are employed in bio-medical manufacturing and research — that’s 14 percent higher than the national average in this industry,” said Carmen Lorentz, director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, which oversees the OIC.
“Projections indicate the number of jobs will grow by 10 percent in the next five years. Arab Health is a great place to highlight this important sector in our economy.” Funding from the State Trade Export Promotion grant made it possible for the companies to participate.
For Parker, it was an opportunity to show off Lamprey’s mobile health capabilities to possible distributors in various regions of the world. He said the company is currently in negotiations with a Saudi distributor.
“It’s almost a requirement to have an in-country person,” Parker said. Since the Dubai exhibition attracted 100,000 people from around the world, Lamprey received quite the exposure.
“We definitely got some real good contacts and got our name out there. The key players are aware of what the technology is,” he said.
The company’s founder, Barry Reinhold, started the company in 1998 as an extension of the work he had been doing with the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab for several years.
In 2008, it received a contract with the Continua Health Alliance to develop what are called the Continua Enabling Software Library (CESL) protocols. These are standards of interoperability for medical devices, and the code they developed grew from this work.
“What we bring to health care through the use of Continua is a standard for plug and play capability,” said LNI Chief Executive Officer Mike Mazzola. The software works across an array of Android and Apple OS devices, as well as Chromebooks running Linux or Windows machines. The interoperability also works with a hub running Linux that is currently being made by a vendor; it’s something LNI hopes to be manufacturing itself soon.
Parker said the company this summer felt it had something it was ready to take to market and has been going to exhibits like the one in Dubai to showcase the technology.
Mazzola said the company maintains a close relationship with UNH. “To us, this is a golden opportunity because no one else is here,” he said.
Technology students and faculty as well as business majors have opportunities to participate in credit-awarding programs and internships at LNI, according to Mazzola.
Future applications include what might be the next generation of wearable technology. The technology could measure an athlete’s heart rate, respiration, and calorie count, for example. It could be a valuable tool, according to Parker, in monitoring possible health risk for young athletes. Parker also said future uses of the technology include getting health monitoring capabilities easily into locations that might otherwise provide challenges, such as a refugee camp.