Simplifying Healthcare with Technology: The Scanadu Scout

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The tech world has been buzzing about the Scanadu Scout for months now, with media sources like the Huffington Post, Wired, and GigaOM covering its massive funding success on IndieGogo, as well as its potential to change the landscape of patient data access. At press time, Scanadu Scout’s Indiegogo campaign has raised $1,576,306 USD to put their medical tricorder into production.

Scanadu imageSo what is it, exactly?

The Scout is a vital sign monitor that analyzes, tracks, and trends its user’s vitals – temperature, respiratory rate, oximetry, ECG, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and stress – all in about ten seconds. This data is then sent wirelessly to the user’s smartphone. Scanadu’s site implies that the Scout can detect problems early, and potentially reduce hospital readmissions and the costs of managing chronic conditions for both patients and insurance companies.

MedCrunch reached out to Scanadu Founder and Internet entrepreneur Walter De Brouwer with the following questions to better understand the Scout’s place in healthcare.

MedCrunch: How do you expect Scanadu to improve the doctor/patient relationship?

Walter De BrouwerDe Brouwer: From the information we learn from Scanadu Scout, we will be able to have adult conversations with our doctors who will have a far better life as information analysts who give us their point of view on our dynamic medical data rather than accountants of our static health records.

If we are taking a new medicine, we may be able to see trends in how it is affecting your health each hour, each evening, each day, and we can discuss these with our doctors so that they can advise adjustments based on that data.

For those with chronic diseases or kids who are always sick, this information is invaluable to both the patient and the physician. Once we are educated about our own health parameters, we will be able to participate in the conversation to improve our health instead of only being passive listeners waiting for the verdict.

 

MedCrunch: Where do you see Scanadu impacting healthcare most?

De Brouwer: Scanadu Scout is a one-stop shop clinic in the palm of your hand. Traditionally, getting a reading for your main vitals would require multiple tools, either clipped to your finger or attached to your chest; Scanadu Scout achieves the same results in one (uncuffed) passive action that takes just 10 seconds. It is frictionless and no other device combines these sensors in this way.

Beyond sensor fusion, the device enables data fusion: fusion between electromechanical signals (vital signs), molecular diagnostic samples (bodily fluids) and imaging data. It is a fusion device made to learn and to remember.

We don’t have the tools in our medicine cabinet or in our bags or cars we need right now to monitor and make decisions about our own health in the privacy of our home. If we know our readings today and understand them, we can make plans to improve them and as such improve our health and change our future.

Medicine belongs to the people and the people belong at home, they should only spend little time in hospitals. The place of care is shifting and the tools that Scanadu makes are the enablers.

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The Scout will likely be FDA approved this year, and has over 8,000 funders on its Indiegogo campaign. Once in full production, would you encourage your patients to use the Scout? Do you agree with De Brouwer’s idea of keeping patients home and out of the hospital? Comment below.

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Aubrie-Ann Jones is a student in the Master’s Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University. She holds an MFA in Fiction from The New School, and a BA in Anthropology from Fordham University. Aubrie is hoping to promote Narrative Medicine training in both medical schools and in the clinical environment after graduation, and to continue to explore the patient/clinician relationship, particularly in trauma care. She is a writer, traveler, advocate, teacher, and runner who is currently heading up Operations and Leadership & Development at a boutique executive search firm that builds teams for NYC-based tech startups. Twitter: @aaj1026