I hesitate to even dive into this topic because there are so many regulatory variables aside from the mere fact that I am not a healthcare professional. Although, I’m thoroughly interested in the possibilities for early Septicemia detection.
According to Innovation in Healthcare: Why it’s needed and where it’s going, we are on the verge of a new era. Traditionally, healthcare innovation included new technologies, medicines and process improvements. These have helped to a certain extent in moving forward the diagnosis process. However, the system is overwhelmed with the aging of the baby boomers. There is an opportunity for real innovation. Especially since, with the aging of the overall population, we have a real crisis on our hands. Sepsis, a condition where the immune system goes into overdrive is wreaking havoc on our population. Septicemia, an immune system’s overreaction to infection in the body releases chemicals in the bloodstream and instead of helping, drives the patient into whole-body inflammation. The end result is a medical emergency of Septic shock; affecting 1.7 billion patients annually, killing over 250k of them. According to the CDC, Sepsis is responsible for 1 in 3 deaths in the hospital. And even if a person experiencing septic shock lives, the other big issue is the months of heavy medical costs afterward. Those who reach a certain threshold with septic shock and live require months of physical therapy, re-hospitalizations and even then, the 90-day outlook for survival can be grim.
Sepsis moves incredibly fast. In fact, a person can go from being healthy going about their day to deceased in less than 24 hours due to septic shock. Additionally, outcomes are directly related to the speed at which sepsis is diagnosed. And the diagnosis can be difficult. Many of the critical early signs of sepsis can mimic those of virus or illness. In fact, hospitals use several different blood tests to make an ultimate diagnosis based on various serum levels.
It is proposed that an Apple smartwatch App provides a Sepsis alert standard to their smartwatches. Currently, the Apple smartwatches track heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and have the ability to perform an ECG. Since these current features are already standard on the watch or via an app and are the main predictors of Sepsis (aside from bloodwork) – an alert can ping the wearer if they are at a certain level of risk to be checked out immediately. Ideally, the app would provide an immediate red level alert appointment for the wearer to be seen by a healthcare professional in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
To the baby boomers aged 55-80, an early alert Sepsis tracker on a smartwatch is the best in early healthcare detection that will save hundreds of thousands of lives per year because the Sepsis epidemic continues to grow as early signs are not clear cut and fast-moving.
Questions for you!
- What barriers or enhancements on this plan do you think would make sense?
- Better yet, how close do you think we are from smartwatches being able to perform bloodwork analysis independently?
- There are many Doctors reverting back to old-fashioned physician care which cuts out insurance and provides flat-rate fees per visit. If society keeps heading to a point where insurance is no longer a barrier – would tech like this flourish?
- Finally, if you know a Doctor or Nurse personally, how badly did they cringe when you mentioned smartwatch app diagnosing?
- “Data & Reports | Sepsis | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/datareports/index.html.
- Haughom, JOHN. “Innovation in Healthcare: Why It’s Needed and Where It’s Going.” Https://Www.healthcatalyst.com/Innovation-in-Healthcare-Why-Needed-Where-Going, Health Catalyst, https://www.healthcatalyst.com/innovation-in-healthcare-why-needed-where-going.
- O’Connell, Krista, et al. “Sepsis.” Https://Www.healthline.com/Health/Sepsis, Healthline, Sepsis.
- “Septicemia.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/septicemia.