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December 17, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

The Scanadu Scout (as part of the X-Prize) is aspiring to be a mobile medical device that can help you keep track of your physical stats on a day to day basis, as well as providing urinalysis and influenza testing to your smartphone along with a host of other features. And with an estimated $150 price-tag, it could be put into the hands of nearly everyone. [video with developer]. [via][previously]
posted by quin (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Was this designed by and for Chris Traeger?
posted by NoMich at 8:47 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, this sounds like a baaaaad idea. The negative consequences of increased testing and increased doctor visits will likely far outweigh the positive consequences of the odd genuine early discovery of some genuine problem.
posted by yoink at 8:52 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yoink, that's exactly what I was thinking.

I would be great for people with a diagnosed issue, in the hands of the general public, maybe not so much.
posted by KaizenSoze at 8:56 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an argument for mass distribution among neonatal patients. Sad.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:58 AM on December 17, 2012


Yeah, I don't see the downside on this. Too much information is far better than not enough.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:03 AM on December 17, 2012


Man, this sounds like a baaaaad idea. The negative consequences of increased testing and increased doctor visits

If the technology is prone to false positives, that's bad for both the people who don't have a genuine problem and the people who do.

If it isn't, the people who don't have a genuine problem will test themselves and find that they don't have a genuine problem.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:17 AM on December 17, 2012


If it isn't, the people who don't have a genuine problem will test themselves and find that they don't have a genuine problem.

A small LCD screen that just pulses "CHILL" over and over.
posted by Theta States at 9:25 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]



Yeah, I don't see the downside on this. Too much information is far better than not enough.


Unless it leads people to overact to the normal fluctuations. There are a lot of doctors who think they must do something, like giving drugs just because your blood pressure is running a little now and again.
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2012


A small LCD screen that just pulses "CHILL" over and over.

I prefer DON'T PANIC.
posted by miyabo at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope they make these pretty secure. I can just see the 4chan crowd getting hold of this.

"It says my blood sugar is over nine thousand. Shouldn't...shouldn't I be dead?"
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:01 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


NPR covered the iBod back in April 2006.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2012


For people that are healthy, the basic version (respiration rate, temperature, pulse) sounds harmless, but not of particular use-- any problems I can think of, that manifest in otherwise healthy people, show up long before they have significant effects on vitals.

People already show up to medical offices all of the time saying, "I usually run low, so 98 is a fever for me," not realizing that most people run lower than 98, that temperature fluctuates significantly throughout the day, and that there is no treatment recommended for an asymptomatic mild fever anyways. I don't believe better monitoring is going to make these people freak out more, it's going to make them freak out less.

The place I can see this being useful is for people who want to fine tune their exercise regimen, and for people that are unhealthy. Somebody with advanced COPD can be unaware of increasingly rapid breathing, which can be an important warning sign. For example.

I don't know a lot about neonatal care, can't really comment-- maybe it would be useful if it was used in lieu of medical treatment, but I don't think it's going to work that way, and generally, people (with medical insurance, in the first world) who are pregnant are checked frequently enough for these very common complications. I bet most obstetricians would just sigh at having to deal with more phone calls. Or else, their nurses would.

For healthy people, I'm not sure what the point of a flu test is. If your test comes up negative, it doesn't mean you're not sick-- influenza is not the only mild virus with those symptoms. If your test comes up positive, what are you going to do about it? I don't believe most doctors want to hear about more (again, otherwise healthy) people with the flu. If you have a little ritual (vitamin C, echinacea, seven-up) that you want to go through if you have the flu, there's really no need to confirm that it's influenza before you do so.
posted by nathan v at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2012


As someone who is currently diagnosed with fibromyalgia because the doctors can't figure out what is wrong, I can't wait for tech like this to become wide spread. They one thing I've discovered through researching my own illness is that very often anything that is a bit unusual is difficult to diagnose unless said doctor have had direct experience with said illness. There are so many stories about people in my shoes that are similarly I'll, and only find a cause years down the road when they stumble upon a doctor with experience diagnosing a treating rare condition x.

Not necessarily personal devices, but something that can look at symptoms and match them in a database along with comparisons to all the diseases that match, what the match percent is and combine with the rarity of the disease. Not something that takes doctors out of the equation, but suggests disorders purely based on probabilities, to gave doctors ideas to things overlooked because they aren't common.

I'd also like my own personal one because recording my data objectively would be a huge win.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:02 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


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