Friday, January 29, 2016

 DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Health Care Technologies

In recent years, do-it-yourself (DIY) health care technology has become a topic of speculation…as smart devices and wearable technology promise homes, workplaces,  and mobile phones into more accessible sites for home monitoring and intervention
Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, General Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,  “Do-It-Yourself Medical Devices and Empowerment in American Health Care,” NEJM, January 28, 2015
You can never tell what people will do when left to their own devices,  to do what they want to do without external control.  I am talking about DYI (Do-It-Yourself)medical devices, which allow you to do for yourself what doctors would otherwise do for you.
In his January 28  NEJM article,  Doctor Greene concludes, “It’s important to remember that DYI medical technologies are neither wholly new or wholly liberating. And in offering another means of circumventing physicians , they may well expose patients to new costs and new risks.”
Dr. Green chronicles self-designed  technological  monitoring devices, which have existed  136 years  (Blake, CG, “The Telephone and Microphone ins Auscultation,  Boston Medical Journal, 1880).
Lately DYI has experienced a renaissance as health reform see it as a way of reducing costs by letting consumers to their thing without doctors.   PriceWaterHouseCoopers, the giant accounting and consulting firm  ranks it number 1 among health care developments in 2015. Qualcomm, another giant health care firm is offering  $10 million competition prize to “stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies , helping consumers make their own reliable health diagnoses anywhere, anytime.
I am one of those consumers, and I am having trouble deciding whether to monitor myself.   I recently received a free small box, 2” by 5”, courtesy of  Castle Connolly Ltd, a health care publishing and consulting company given to me as a gift for serving on their medical advisory board.

The box contained a BodiMetrics  performance monitor  with the slogan “Your well-being in the palm of your hand” imprinted on its side.   The performance minitor ,  the box said on its other sides, would allow me to measure m “cuff-less systolic blood pressure anywhere anytime; to improve exercise results by optimizing my target health activity training zone;to measure fitness performance and the impact of lower oxygen environments at high altitude or undersea;  to daily track my vitals in 20 seconds to improve lifestyle and promote physical activity; to measure my temperature in 3 seconds with infrared technology;  and to measure my relaxation index using Heart Rate Variability (HRV); and to  teach breathing exercise to promote relaxation.  The box even contained  a pedometer to record my daily walking steps.
The performance monitor had 2 menu screens for general navigations, a monitor with a touch screen, an infrared temperature sensor, an internal SpO2 sensor, a home button to turn the monitor on or off, a multifunction connectors, 3 ECG electrodes, , and  neck strap hole to allow me to measure my vitals and their responses anytime anywhwere.
At the bottom of the box was a neck strap and an 18” electrical cord , one of which plugs into the device and the other into I know not what
I have 3 problems with the device.
One,  the instructions don't tell me what to plug it into, rendering it inoperable.
Two,  I am having  a hard time following the directions how to use and have frittered away an hour or so trying to learn how.
Three,  I do not want to know my  vitals, my response to exercise, my oxygen levels, number of steps taken, or my temperature.
I have asked a young geek to show me how to use it.   After he teaches me,  I will give it to him.   I am one who is out-of-step  and out-of-time with DYI technologies, which have their place but not in my space.  As for others, it's up to you, to do unto yourself what others would do unto you.



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