My family has a history of irregular heartbeats, from PVCs to AFIBs. So when I saw my cardiologist recently, I asked him how I could track my beats. I have worn a Holter Monitor a few times and did not want to do that again unless it was absolutely necessary. He pointed me to this Kardia Mobile device which I purchased on Amazon a few weeks ago.
This Kardia Mobile 6L device is remarkable. It delivers a “6 lead” EKG reading into your smartphone by putting the device on your knee and pressing both thumbs on it. I realize that 6 leads is not the same as what you get with a Holter Monitor or an EKG in your doctor’s office. But it is really amazing because it is so easy to use in your own home. It is the size of an Apple TV remote, maybe even a tad smaller. I just email my cardiologist the result and he tells me what is going on without him having to take fifteen minutes or more to see me and without me having to visit his office.
This is just one example of the revolution underway in health care. Driven by advances in technology, a computer in everyone’s pocket, ongoing changes in the healthcare system accelerated by the pandemic, among other forcing functions, we are seeing more and more healthcare being accessed in our homes vs in the doctor’s office.
This does not mean that doctors are needed less. I think they are needed more. But they can focus their time and energy where it is most needed, in providing the care itself vs all of the other things that lead to the care.
This has the potential to both increase access to care and also reduce the cost of it. We will need other changes to the healthcare system for those things to be realized. We will need the healthcare system to move away from a business model based on the provision of care in favor of a business model based on outcomes. We will need the power of the payors to be reduced in favor of the power of the patients. Those changes must be driven by society/politics and they won’t come easy.
But the conditions are ripe for a reshaping of the healthcare system. Entrepreneurs (like the folks who made the Kardia Mobile device) and risk capital can and will be an important force in driving that change.