It's not quite as simple as it sounds. Two big reasons are patient compliance and clinician workload.
So far it would appear that the current trend is quantified self and health related electronics has been driven by those that are already intrested in their health and most likely already healthy or are maintaining their health (e.g. diabetics). There's another portion of people that are unhealthy and there is little that is going to compel them to do anything to change their behavior or interest in being reminded of their condition.
Clinicians don't want to see all the data because then they have to look at it. Imagine their workload if all their patients were daily sending in vital signs. The clinican is obligated to review it because if they don't and miss something that is important they'll be liable. Meanwhile most patients don't understand the meaning of the data. Take blood pressure. It changes over the course of the day. If they take it at differing times or after different activities it's going to be moving all over the place. Long term trends have meaning but daily variations, which is what the public is going to see and remember, have very little. There are some specific conditions where short term trending can be important such congestive heart failure but they are the exceptions.
One of the reasons why I was delighted to hear this keynote speech at ET2013 was the fact that Omron has a very balanced, down-to-earth view on home healthcare.
Of course, when a publication like EE Times writes about medical electronics, we all get excited about things like wireless patach for ECG monitors and contact lenses to treat glaucoma. Those are really exciting examples for what the future holds; and yet the weak links of many of those technology developers are the lack of their deep connections with the medical world. Omron seems to be fully aware of this; and while home health blood pressure monitor does look low-tech, they believe that they got the toehold in the home care-medical care connections through big data. That, in my mind, is going to be the key to making home healthcare system much more effective in the next decade.
Of course, there is always an issue of who pays for it. But when you think about the cost savings over a long period of time (by identifying some warning signs early on), I think this will be the way of the future.
That is a good move in medical industry. Its important to empower the normal masses to measure the blood pressure and sugar themselves in home as almost all critical diseases are show them as symptoms. May be a good storage for the readings is also a good idea. And some kind of analysis patterns. Definitely doctors would play a very important role to make this effective. Have seen many elders who cannot go to clinic every now and then , this would be quite good. Also for teenagers and others who dont have time to wait in the clinic.
The blood pressure data collected daily by individuals at home (without them going to clinics) can become a really powerful source of information and tools for doctors -- once it's organized and presented in a meaningful way. (Trends, differences in blood pressure levels in the morning and at night, etc.)
The key is how to connect that individula data with the medical community.
Without explicit trust from doctors, it's hard to build that bridge, I think. And I think Omron is half way there already.
Getting home healthcare devices into the hands of consumers is one thing. (For that, Omron is definitely winning and leading.)
Getting that data collected by home healthcare devices back to doctors is another.
However, Omron has begun to penetrate the Japanese medical community through the infrastructure it has pioneered. They already have real doctors and hospitals using this plaform. I don't see anyone else doing that level of integration and penetration.
I don't know if they're getting traction but I can tell you that blood testing is an area that many people are hoping for some improvements in. I know of several people right now that are attempting to improve on the current methods. These people aren't connected to eachother so I think this is a telling symptom of a gap in needs and wants and what is currently out there.
Here in India, I am seeing a slow but steady penetration of the portable medical diagnostics devices into the retail market. I own an Omron BP monitoring device and seeing these devices a lot often in the small diagnostic centers and medical shops. I like that strategy of keeping an eye on the startup medical electronics companies and acquiring them when appropriate. Also like the idea of bringing Big data into medical electronics.
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