New institute to use wireless technology in healthcare

Gary and Mary West Foundation, Scripps Health and Qualcomm on Monday announced formation of the West Wireless Health Institute, one of world’s first medical research organizations dedicated to advancing health and well-being through the use of wireless technologies.

The foundation, led by Rancho Santa Fe residents Gary and Mary West, has committed $45 million to create the institute, which is headquartered on Torrey Pines Mesa. Details were to be outlined in a press conference Monday afternoon.

Scripps Health has signed on as the founding health care affiliate, with Qualcomm as a founding sponsor. Gary West is founder and chair of the Institute’s board of directors.

Dr. Eric J. Topol, chief academic officer at Scripps Health and holder of the Gary and Mary West Chair of Innovative Medicine, and Donald Jones, vice president of Health and Life Sciences at Qualcomm, also were named directors.

“We believe this emerging field will completely transform health care as we know it,” West stated in a press release. “The Institute aims to be the catalyst to move ideas and concepts quickly into reality, bringing cost-effective wireless health solutions to doctors, patients and their families.”

Topol will lead institute’s clinical research team in search of solutions to better prevent, diagnose, manage and treat major health conditions, ranging from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to obesity. The Institute will build a base of biomedical and bioengineering expertise to ensure that devices in development improve the existing level of care, and are safe, reliable, and cost effective.

“The rapid and remarkable progress in wireless sensors - continuously tracking important parameters such as blood sugar, blood pressure, all vital signs, sleep state and even caloric intake and expenditure - has the potential to change medicine in a radical and unprecedented way,” Topol said in the press release. “Not only does this fit the optimal models of individualized and consumer-driven health care, but there is tremendous potential to upgrade quality of care, reduce the cost burden and shift away from reactive to preventive medicine.”

Jones and the Institute’s engineering team will lead the integration of the board has launched a global search for a chief executive officer to lead the Institute.

For more information on the West Wireless Health Institute, please visit