Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is Scanadu the Future of Consumer Driven Healthcare?

Is Scanadu the Future of Consumer Driven Healthcare?  Unless you are a healthcare techie who stays on top of such things, we imagine your most likely response to this question is: Who or what is a Scanadu?  Let's start with some basics. Scanadu is a young technology company, based in Silicon Valley, with a vision for consumer driven healthcare that integrates medical diagnostic and smartphone technologies.  It is developing a suite of medical devices based on this vision that could profoundly alter the consumer healthcare landscape in the not too distant future.  We say "could" because the company technically does not have a product on the market just yet.  It's initial product, called the Scanadu Scout, is about to roll out on a clinical trial basis as the company seeks Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval before making the Scout available to the general public.  If all goes well, Scout could be on the market next year

The Scanadu Scout is a pocket-sized device that, by just holding it against your forehead for a few seconds, facilitates measuring, tracking and analyzing your key vital signs - temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, heart rate variability and an electrocardiogram reading.  The device can then transmit your vital sign information via Bluetooth to your smartphone for tracking over time and, if some vital sign readings are out of the ordinary, Scout will let you know about it.  Moreover, the vital sign history you compile via Scout can be readily shared with your doctor, making those office visits more productive.

What is noteworthy about the company's approach is that it is investing extra time and money to subject the Scout to clinical trials required by the FDA approval process.  Getting FDA approval would attest to the Scout's clinical-grade accuracy and position it with the physician community as a viable source of clinically reliable information. 

Scanadu's vision goes beyond the Scout.  Also in development is a disposable urine testing kit that will link to a smartphone app that will walk the user through the testing procedure, then process, store and explain the test results. And as with Scout, a user will be able to electronically transmit their test information to their doctor. In addition, the company is purportedly working on a flu test that presumably will integrate with a user's smartphone.

So is Scanadu the future of consumer driven healthcare?  The company has an impressive vision for consumer driven healthcare, some strong financial backers and a stellar group of medical advisors, so they have the potential to be a profound force one day.  Yet getting from development stage company to a major player in the healthcare market is a herculean task and there is no telling if Scanadu, the company, can travel that path.  That said, Scandu's vision of enabling consumers to measure and monitor their own health through the integration of medical diagnostic and smartphone technologies, and then to electronically share that information with healthcare providers, is a powerful one that is shared by other healthcare innovators.  It is just a matter of time, and we think that time will be sooner than one might think, before innovative healthcare companies like Scanadu will be empowering consumers in ways that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago. 

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