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 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. 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. 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 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.
In terms of the next steps and best practices, a process alignment needs to occur. Now that we know through research a serious problem exists with a broad market for consumers, the next stage for this potential product needs action. When prototyping the name we can assume the category this enhancement will fall under is “healthcare application.” This overarching category will be important for pursuing a “tempo mover” labeling strategy. It’s also important to note that over the past 5 years, “Septicemia” searches reached their peak in late April of 2018. This is interesting information because, through a google search we can see that this period was associated with a new type of strain of virus, Adenovirus, that was causing as much illness like the flu. As new viruses evolve, and as the population ages, we can even further associate urgency and health as part of the naming plan.
Additionally, interviews with stakeholders both on the medical side and the company innovating the app idea will need to occur. Once the prototype is mapped out and issues are identified the build can happen. Down the road, the innovation of the product can continue to enhance the user experience. If the user receives an alert that their health may be in jeopardy, follow-ups at 24 hours, 1 week and 1 month can interact with the user for them to document the outcomes. Those outcomes that further inform their healthcare provider through blockchain technology and hashing can enforce the safety and permanence of the record. Explorations through blockchain and the legalities of aggregating user information can widely inform the National Institute of Health for best practice. In the short-term, it will enhance the user’s own healthcare management.
- “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.