If you want better health for more people at lower costs, look beyond the D.C. Beltway, the capitals of the state and even the borders of America. For example, the story of the Dario blood glucose monitoring system shows many of the characteristics of how and why technological innovation takes place in healthcare – and how this works.
According to some estimates, diabetes can be responsible for a mammoth of 10 percent of US health spending and a lot of personal suffering. Nearly 10 percent of Americans suffer from diabetes, while 20 percent of patients show signs of prediabetes. The disease can injure sufferers – pain, amputation, disability, greatly reduced quality of life and huge costs for the results.
Erez Raphael, the Israeli founder of Dario, from Tel Aviv, was an experienced technologist in the field of software development outside healthcare. He struggled with serious diabetes, inspired him to attack the disease that attacked him. His creation shifted part of the care burden away from the scarce inventory of health care providers and to the large number of patients who are undoubtedly just as motivated as Raphael to beat the disease.
That creation was a small, portable device that, along with a smartphone, allows people with diabetes to follow their own glucose levels. Traditional glucose meters, on the other hand, are confusing, require batteries and deliver slow measurements. The website of the Dario device (mydario.com) and customer reviews state that it can register a measurement within six seconds. Patients can easily upload, track and map results. It is important that if the patient's statistics indicate that he is incapacitated for work, the app itself knows that he needs to call emergency assistance.
The technology allows patients to take greater responsibility for their own care by combining glucose monitoring with the many tasks inherent in self monitoring of this complex condition. The app tracks food intake and exercise, for example via a simple patient interface. Easy input and comprehensible output help to reduce the number of crises that require costly, uncomfortable medical care – and to remove resources from other patients.
The costs are also important. According to Dario's website, the device costs about $ 70. Premium services, which run $ 20- $ 25 per month, offer test strips, progress reports, advisory readings, expert check-ups, progress reports, and the like – a modest cost, compared to, for example, the costs of a single visit to the emergency room.
The implications of Dario go far beyond the diabetics.
Consumer-operated medical devices such as Dario & # 39; s are widespread. AliveCor & # 39; s Kardia uses mobile phones or portable devices to perform and analyze electrocardiograms. CellScope & # 39; s Oto identifies ear infections. myStrengthmonitoring depression and other health problems with behavior. Recovery Record controls eating disorders. The Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize was awarded in 2017 to developers who combined twelve such devices into a single portable device weighing less than five pounds.
For every device that comes on the market, however, there are many more than never. A main cause is our own regulatory system (and also in other countries).
Some innovations fail to absorb because they are in fact inferior products. However, some never reach consumers because the obstacles that are needed to clear the Food and Drug Administration approval process are too long, expensive or insecure.
Joseph Gulfo described in his book & # 39; Innovation Breakdown & # 39; the disastrous process that drowned its start-up company, which had developed a device to check moles for potentially lethal melanoma. (The device is finally approved, but only after the approval process has seriously damaged the finances of its business.)
Eventually, regulators will probably notice that the status quo is not an option. The internet and cheap international journeys enable patients and innovators to bypass the regulatory burden. Nightscout – a network of computer programmers with diabetic children – created and shared remote glucose monitor technologies under the slogan / hashtag #WeAreNotWaiting. Sites such as Arudino enable creators to share their ideas online. Command-and-control regulation can prove to be a fleeting 20th-century phenomenon.
The current pace of high-tech innovation makes the beginning of the 21st century a remarkable time. It is important that the legislative and regulatory environment encourages major breakthroughs rather than discourage major breakthroughs.