As everyone knows, the medical system is under great stress. People consult their doctor, or visit an emergency room at a hospital, for very trivial things. There are many efforts underway to optimize the way that scarce and expensive medical resources are conserved. So while doctors are concerned that patients should not be making their own diagnoses, in reality, patients have always had to make decisions on their own. Should I call my doctor now or should I wait? Is it a strain or maybe a broken bone?
When you are concerned or even scared, you need information to help you decide on the best course of action. Earlier this week I discussed CellScope’s Otoscope, an iPhone add-on that helps parents evaluate whether their child has an ear infection.
Perhaps the first consumer device for medical evaluation was the thermometer, introduced in the 1800’s. Who hasn’t used one to help make a determination as to whether someone has an infection, and determine if there is immediate concern based on the degree of temperature elevation?
Scanadu use the thermometer as an example of an early home diagnosis or evaluation tool. The company is developing the Scanadu SCOUT. It monitors five vital signs:
• Pulse transit time
• Heart rate (pulse rate)
• Electrical heart activity
• Heart rate variability
• Blood oxygenation (pulse oximetry)
The device is held to the temple for 10 seconds and the collected data uploaded to a smartphone.
Here is a great video overview of the product concept: