Valeta Young, 81, a retiree from Lodi, Calif., suffers from congestive heart failure and requires almost constant monitoring. But she doesn't have to drive anywhere to get it. Twice a day she steps onto a special electronic scale, answers a few yes or no questions via push buttons on a small attached monitor and presses a button that sends the information to a nurse's station in San Antonio, Texas. "It's almost a direct link to my doctor," says Young, who describes herself as computer illiterate but says she has no problems using the equipment.
Young is not the only patient who is dealing with her doctor from a distance. Remote monitoring is a rapidly growing field in medical technology, with more than 25 firms competing to measure remotely--and transmit by phone, Internet or through the airwaves--everything from