Scanadu hopes its tricorder-like device and a smartphone will help people track their health and diagnose problems.
(...) "Scanadu announced Thursday that it plans to start selling this first device—the Scout, which monitors heart rate, temperature, blood oxygenation, and other vital signs—by the end of 2013, as well as a disposable urine-analysis test that can swiftly detect pregnancy issues, urinary tract infections, and kidney problems, and a saliva analysis test that can detect upper respiratory problems like strep throat and the flu. The Scout will cost less than $150, De Brouwer says; he doesn’t put a price tag on the disposable tests but says they will be “very, very cheap.”
The Scout may appeal to the growing quantified-self community, which focuses on tracking everything from sleep to stress levels (see “The Measured Life”) and includes some well-known figures such as the mathematician and entrepreneur Stephen Wolfram (who is also a member of Scanadu’s board).
The inspiration behind Scanadu came from a long hospital stay. De Brouwer’s son received a traumatic brain injury in 2006 after falling out of a window, and De Brouwer and his wife spent much of that year in the hospital with him. De Brouwer, a tech entrepreneur and onetime personal computer magazine publisher, started learning about the functions of various medical machines surrounding him. (...)"
"The smartphone app—currently just for iPhone, though an Android version is in development—will keep a record of your vital signs and data from any Scanadu test you take.
But the company may face skepticism from doctors, as well as from consumers, who are used to consulting a medical professional about an illness.
Ki Chon, a professor and head of the biomedical engineering department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who has built software that can derive vital signs using a smartphone’s built-in camera, says Scanadu’s device sounds useful, but only if the results are accurate.
Leslie Saxon, chief of the University of Southern California’s division of cardiovascular medicine and the executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing, says that to ensure accuracy, the product will need clinical testing. She’s enthusiastic about Scanadu’s possibilities, though, saying it could help patients take a more active role in the health-care process and improve treatment of undertreated problems like hypertension.
In hopes of stanching skepticism and making potential users feel comfortable with the idea of home diagnosis and self-tracking, Scanadu is seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company is also talking to several hospitals about setting up a clinical trial with its device." (...)
CE: It is hard for me to attempt to separate consumerisation of medicine from the type of empowerment that this type of 'gadgets' promise... The device could be presented as a personalised device that provides better communication with caretakers, but instead it is marketed as DIY medicine. Looking forward to read some replies from MDs to this emerging trend.