Portable device for health checks

 
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A small portable electronic device that will enable persons to measure a range of different physiological parameters, including pulse transit time, heart rate, electrical heart activity, body temperature, heart rate variability, and blood oxygenation will be widely in use in Europe by 2030. The data received by a data collection device are sent to the mobile app connected to it, so as to provide a full health status picture on the user’s mobile device (e.g. smart phone). Such a small device could provide, for instance, urine analysis and be designed to be used to track diabetes or urinary infections. It could also be a saliva testing device enabling its user to see whether s/he has contracted influenza.

Users should be able to monitor and learn about their current health status – and that of their families – and how it evolves over time. They could check their bodies as often as they check their email. One imaginable scenario is that those anxious parents who tend to run straight to their doctor whenever their child has a high temperature might find some reassurance by using such devices. Having this kind of concrete information could lead to a dramatic fall in healthcare costs. At the same time, helping people to obtain a better grasp of their own state of health should mean that they can have more informed discussions with their healthcare providers.

Reference and image credentials: http://www.atelier.net/en/trends/articles/scanadu-will-let-you-track-your-vital-signs-your-smartphone_419191

 

6 Responses to “Portable device for health checks”

  1. The use of such a device sounds tempting and it might be a useable gadget to monitor health status and vital signs. I fully agree that users would be able to monitor and learn about their current health status and perhaps they will be able to learn how to interpret their vital signs and the coherence between certain peaks in the vital signs and their habits. In further consequence some very informed users will be changing their habits to avoid “peaks” in the vital signs.
    Informed users will probably have a better overview of their own state of health and can have more informed discussions with their healthcare providers.
    But on the other hand I don’t share the opinion that “those anxious parents” or any other anxious hypochondriac user “[…]might find some reassurance by using such devices”.
    I think that those users would measure the given range of physical parameters of their children or of themselves every few minutes just to see whether there was a slight change in the values or not – and if so (or if not so), why this chance happened (or why no change happened).
    Perhaps such persons will not run straight to their doctors anymore but they would use most of their time to check their (or their children’s) physical parameter. This might not be good for the users’ mental stability or health and might raise healthcare costs elsewhere.

    What is important in addition to the preparation of the measured physical parameters is an analysis of the coherences of the different vital signs and an interpretation of the parameters which enables the users to make decisions.
    It is very important that this preparation and interpretation is done by a very intelligent and complex decision support system which weighs the different options, “tells the users the truth” but does not frighten them. Such a system should tell the user, when to go to the doctor or when it is possible to bide, which “peaks” in the measured data are uncritical and which ones have to be controlled by oneself or even by a doctor.

    I think, it is much more difficult to develop a good, reliable and manageable decision support system for the “normal” users of such a portable device then to develop the device itself. And I think a confidence inspiring “program” that really helps the users to “know” what is going on and to make decisions is very important.

     
  2. First of all I´d like to mention that the use of this device could be a very useful tool to monitor a person´s health status.
    In my mind, it sounds very time consuming to measure all mentioned vital signs several times a day. Maybe it would be easier and more comfortable for the user to have a wearable device, for example a watch, which measures the most important vital parameters automatically and sends data to the mobile app to analyse it. This would may increase the acceptability of such a device.

    This device would be a good idea for chronically ill people. Especially for these people it makes sense to check their vital signs several times a day to get to know their illness better and to learn how to deal with it. Therefore it would also make sense to analyse the coherence of different vital signs but also the coherence of vital signs and lifestyle habits. Maybe the mobile app could also increase functions like eating – diary, sport – sessions, and a stress level diary.

    Health care costs and visits to general practitioners can be reduced if a special Tele- consultation from a doctor is offered in combination with this device. Critical parameters could automatically been sent to these doctors, and the patient is getting help if it´s necessary.

    In general, I think that this system will be a good idea for chronically ill people but less for even healthy people. In my mind, it would be an additional stress factor for some people to see how vital parameters change not knowing exactly why. This would people may lead to only concentrate on data measured by this device and to just think about how to change their life style habits to get their parameters “normal” again.

     
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  6. I am absolutelly in favor of such a mobile device. People often stay at home due to illness and with such a mobile measuring device they could have a normal daily life.

    There could be some some problems due to the security. Patients want to keep their privacy.

    In general such a mobile device could be a good investment in the future.

     

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