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DOCtalk by Dr. Gregg 9/1/12

September 1, 2012 News No Comments

I Gotcho Future Right Here …

You just knew it was going to happen. The infamous “tricorder” from Star Trek (you know, the little handheld device that could scan every little thing, both around you and within you ) was going to come into being one day. I mean, really, who doubts any longer the futuristic insights of Gene Roddenberry? For predictive power, the man rivals Nostradamus, Jeanne Dixon, and Arthur C. Clarke … well, almost.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’m betting the ranch that you will soon. A start-up called Scanadu has a countdown clock on their web site ticking away the seconds until launch time, now just over two weeks. Their team has a lot of heavy intellectual hitters including biomedical engineers, artificial intelligence specialists, medical experts, and, of course, the prerequisite software and hardware developers.

They’ve got funding.

They’ve got a profound slogan: “We are the last generation to know so little about our health.”

They’ve got some cool quotes:

  • “Sci-fi stories are business plans in disguise.” – Walter De Brouwer, CEO & co-founder
  • “Today, the health tools in your home probably consist of a thermometer and a box of band-aids. We can do a lot better.” – Misha Chellum, COO & co-founder
  • “We’re building a way for people to check their bodies as often as they check their email.” – Scanadu video promo
  • “Sending your smartphone to med school” – Scanadu web site

They’ve got a cool little video describing the first phases:

They’ve also got my friend, Dr. Alan Greene, founder of “the pioneer physician Web site,” DrGreene.com. Alan is the founding president of the board of the Society for Participatory Medicine that, along with “e-Patient Dave” deBronkart and a host of others, is driving patient empowerment from a grass roots level. (It’s gaining more and more traction every day.)

Scanadu looks as if it can empower consumers of healthcare better than anything I’ve ever seen with such “auto-diagnosis” tools as:

  • Scanning skin lesions and rashes to provide etiologic and care management insights
  • Built-in thermometry
  • Urinalysis (No, I don’t think you’ll be peeing on your smartphone)
  • Symptom checker
  • Diagnostic guidance
  • Medical alerts specific to you and your geographical area
  • Connectivity to medical providers and facilities

Imagine the other “auto-diagnostic” tools that could/will be added!

This is a game-changer. This could have a huge positive impact upon healthcare delivery, HIT, and maybe even the national budget deficit.

Maybe it isn’t yet a true tricorder, but as they say in their video, “It’s all possible … and it’s only the beginning.”

From the trenches…

“Hmm. Maybe I’ll start calling my tricorder "Sally." – Chief O’Brien (Star Trek: Next Generation)

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, directs the Pediatric Office of Today! exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).

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