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Taking Control of your Medicine

3 September, 2012 | medical equipment, MedWOW, News

Is our reliance on doctors in decline? After looking at the plethora of new medical devices entering commercialization, there’s a noticeable trend that new devices are being designed that empower patients to monitor, diagnose and even treat their own health.

Since the advent of the internet and social media, patients are more inclined to manage their own medical treatments thanks to the enormous amount of information available online.

In response to this shift in the public’s attitude towards medicine, medical device manufacturers are creating medical devices geared towards patient ‘self-care’ that embrace convenience and affordability. For example, new devices allow patients to take care of their health at home or on the go – something that’s important in today’s busy modern world. As well, the relatively low costs of the technology powering these devices make them possible for private individuals to purchase.

Here are just a few products to highlight that offer solutions to medical dilemmas patients face every day:
Startup Scanadu Inc., is currently developing a handheld device that interacts with smartphones to identify common illnesses such as the flu and strep throat. The device is expected to be popular among parents to check if their child’s symptoms necessitate a visit to the doctor.
Company Rest Devices is working towards FDA approval for its washable T-shirt that monitors overnight respiration in sleep-apnea patients. The device is important since it prevents patients from making overnight clinic visits for monitoring.
Likewise Orthocare Innovations LLC, a prosthesis start-up, is marketing a foot and ankle device that adjusts both automatically or by the patient with the help of a smartphone. The product gives patients greater independence and saves them from having to pay frequent visits to the prosthetist’s office for adjustments.

We can likely expect to see more medical innovations like these to enter the market. Of course in view of the wide variety of medical devices available, some doctors worry medical devices give patients a false sense of security; that doctors are no longer necessary. They warn patients that their doctors have a crucial role to play as their health care partners to oversee patient use of medical devices. On the whole however, the medical field views medical devices as positive tools that address the public’s interest in their wellbeing.