Beam me up – instant diagnosis

 

Starship Medicine

If you’ve ever watched the Star Trek TV show, or any of the franchise’s movies, you’ve probably noticed that spaceship medicine is different from what we’re accustomed to.  Instead of a physical exam, on the Starship Enterprise, the doctor points a blinking device at the patient and arrives at an instant diagnosis of any health issue.

Could that ever happen in real life?  It could—and actually has.

Chip maker and tech company Qualcomm has been, since 2012, sponsoring a Tricorder XPrize Competition, offering $2.5 million to the company that can diagnose, with remote sensors, 13 health conditions: anemia, urinary tract infection, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, stroke, sleep apnea, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, otitis, leukocytosis and hepatitis.  The winning device would also be able to assess a patient’s vital signs, like blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature through wireless sensors, imaging technologies and non-invasive replacements of laboratory equipment.  (A second prize of $1 million was also part of the competition.)

The social benefits of such a device are obvious: a huge percentage of the country’s health care spending goes toward expensive testing procedures, and fast, accurate diagnoses are also the key to fast, successful treatments.  Imagine a world where medical costs—including the costs of Medicare and health insurance premiums—are reduced by 30%, and people can buy a device that allows them to diagnose their own ailments.

In all, 312 teams entered the competition, including government-sponsored groups and medical corporations.  The recently-announced winner: Final Frontier Medical Devices, founded by an emergency medicine doctor named Basil Harris.

Instead of a hand-held device, the winning tricorder—called DxtER, is roughly the size of a shoe box, containing several individual diagnostic devices and sensors that patients can apply to themselves.  The devices, linked to an Apple iPad, will actually go beyond the specifications and diagnose 34 different medical conditions, in addition to the aforementioned vital signs.  The next round of the competition will look for a way to create a commercial version.

Sources:

http://tricorder.xprize.org/about/overview

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/04/underdog-team-wins-millions-in-competition-to-make-real-life-tricorder/

About Objectively Speaking

Tom Batterman, founder of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy and Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is in the business of representing the best financial interests of his clients. Having provided objective, fee-only financial management services for over two decades, he specializes in managing the investment and related financial affairs of individuals and mutual insurance companies who do not have the time, interest or expertise to manage such matters on their own. As an objective, unbiased professional who takes on a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, he guides clients to the financial decisions they would make themselves if they had years of training and experience and the time and expertise to fully research and understand all of their options. Founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy, Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is a financial management solution for individuals and mutual insurance companies who recognize they do not have the time, interest or expertise to properly attend to their financial matters on their own. While there are many financial “advisors”, most of them have investment products to sell and the “advice” they provide is geared toward getting their clients to engage in a purchase. As one of the rare subset of advisors known as “fiduciary advisors”, Financial Fiduciaries does not sell any investment product so its guidance is not compromised by conflicts of interest which plague ordinary advisors. Prior to his employment in the financial industry in financial advocacy and trust positions, he worked at a private law practice in the Wausau area in the areas of estate planning, tax, retirement planning, corporate organizations and real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW-Madison Law School and has during his career held Series 7, 24 and 65 securities licenses. A longtime resident of the Wausau, Wisconsin Area, Tom is active in the community. He enjoys golf, curling, skiing, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.
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