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Dr. Savage has an App for That

Ricochet’s George Savage is too modest to post this, which is fine because I’d like to do the honors:

From the latest issue of Popular Science:

As a doctor, George Savage had the power to save lives, but part of his job still made him feel helpless: After patients left the hospital, he had no way of knowing if they were taking their medications. According to the World Hea…

  1. Trace

    George just needs to get Senators Boxer and Feinstein to pass a law mandating the use of this device. Of course he needs to grant them some options in exchange for some invaluable “consulting” work first.jk Good stuff George!

  2. Misthiocracy
    Vance Richards: Now if Mayor Bloomberg can figure out a way to get this technology into snack foods he will be able to monitor everyone’s sugar intake. 

    Clearly, the federal government must mandate it’s inclusion in every single sugar crystal sold in the United States.

  3. Patrickb63

    Honestly, the first thought to come to my mind was “Great, a method for the government medical bureaucrats to track when, where and how I’m taking my medication”.  I’m not againt my doctor knowing when and if I take my meds.  Now that my doctor is on his way to becoming another government drone, though, I don’t want the information available.  Because it will NOT remain between he and I.

  4. Mendel

    Congratulations are in order for Dr. Savage!

    But this brings up a question for me. There seems to be a pushback by both conservatives and many doctors against the attempts (dating from before Obamacare) by Democrats to mandate electronic health records.

    If we actually had a (mostly) unregulated market in healthcare, isn’t it likely that the market would impose an electronic record-keeping system in short order?  And one that actually worked?

    This is not argue that we should embrace the attempt to impose EHR from the top down.  Rather, we should use companies like Proteus to demonstrate to left-leaning health wonks that their dreams of “modernizing” medical delivery will be met much better through less-regulated healthcare markets.

  5. Mendel

    A cynical question for Dr. Savage: as long as so much of the cost of prescription drugs is picked up by third parties (especially Medicare), who stands to benefit from this device?

    I can imagine there are influential lobbies who view your product very unfavorably.

  6. Spin

    Oh I love technology

    Not as much as you, you see

    But still I love technology

  7. BlueAnt
    Misthiocracy: I can’t wait for this to hit the conspiracy theorists.

    After all, if you can put this tech in a pill, what’s to stop the Men In Black from putting it in our food? One millimetre-thick tracking devices that broadcast our location from our stomachs!

    “You foiled us with your tinfoil hats, but we have adapted!”

    I bet you could sandwich a layer of tin foil into a homemade duct tape shirt.  

    Forget medicine, this technology has the potential to make millions for some entrepreneur catering to the paranoid crowd!

  8. Sabrdance
    Rob Long:  What’s amazing about what George’s company is doing is that it’s so … not amazing.  It’s the perfect kind of invention — when you hear about it, you don’t say, “Oh man!  That blows my mind!” You say: “Ofcourse!”

    Speak for yourself.  They turned a potato clock into a radio transmitter, stuck it in your stomach, and it will make your cell phone tell you when you need to redose.

    Mind, BLOWN.

    I’ll get back to you on whether the potential privacy abuses concern me.

  9. Southern Pessimist

    The power of a great new innovative idea rarely comes from the initial application. It achieves transformative power from the next generation of creativity that comes from free markets and free exchange of ideas. I am not an engineer but even I can imagine some powerful applications of this technology.

  10. AUMom

    I understand the privacy issue, truly I do.

    I, however, cheer, holler, and whoop at this. It would be a godsend for my mother who still lives alone but does not always remember to take her meds. I live three states away as does my brother. She does not want to move. I cannot even begin to think about the peace of mind such an innovation would provide us.

    Thanks, Dr. Savage.

  11. Misthiocracy

    There isn’t really a privacy issue. The range of the transmitter is from the inside of the stomach to the patient’s torso. 

    Or maybe that’s what they WANT us to believe…

  12. George Savage
    C

    I’m still reeling from the cognitive dissonance of finding my two lives–mild-mannered Silicon Valley medical technologist and charter member of the Ricochet wing of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy–collide above-the-fold on my favorite web-site.

    Thanks for all of your comments.

  13. George Savage
    C

    The legal cast to our regulatory and reimbursement systems has led companies to over-invest in absolute therapeutic capability–what a product can do–rather than in treatment systems–what a product will do in the real world.  

    The 20th century acute care model was a blowout success:  You get sick and are admitted to the hospital; doctors write orders; nurses give you medicine and assess your body’s response; doctors check the data and revise your treatment plan. Hopefully, you are soon well.

    But the challenge of 21st century medicine is chronic disease  Patients and family caregivers manage illness as best they can between 8-minute medical visits.  And pharmaceuticals are designed by people like me for other people like me, not for patients and families.

    One-half of all prescribed medicines are taken incorrectly, and treatment plans are changed without objective data.  Yet the pharma model is to spend billions on a 5% better molecule, not the 50% systemic failure.

    We are developing a digital health feedback system to allow patients and families to take control of their health care.  The right medicine at the right dose in the right person at the right time.

  14. George Savage
    C

    Incidentally, computer industry R&D used to work in an analogous fashion:  Computers designed by techies for techies.  Twenty years ago if you weren’t a technology buff but needed to use a computer, someone of a nerdly disposition from the IT department would build the whole product out of components–processor, peripherals, display, applications–set everything up and show you what you could touch and what you must not.

    Beginning with Steve Jobs’s second stint at Apple, computer engineers started working with user experience designers to create systems intuitive enough to be useful to the vast majority without a personal IT specialist on call.

    My bet is that medicine, led by the new digital health sector, is beginning a similar transformation.

    With or without Obamacare.

  15. Misthiocracy
    George Savage: Incidentally, computer industry R&D used to work in an analogous fashion:  Computers designed by techies for techies.  Twenty years ago if you weren’t a technology buff but needed to use a computer, someone of a nerdly disposition from the IT department would build the whole product out of components–processor, peripherals, display, applications–set everything up and show you what you could touch and what you must not.

    I hate to quibble but, 20 years? 1992?

    There were Macs and PCs before 1992.

  16. George Savage
    C
    Misthiocracy  I hate to quibble but, 20 years? 1992?

    There were Macs and PCs before 1992. · 43 minutes ago

    Yes, in 1992 there were Macs and PCs.  And they were unusable for most people.

    Back then, PC aficionados wrestled with Windows 3.1, while Mac users had a slightly more intuitive experience with OS 6.  In 1992, somewhere between one and two hundred million personal computers were in use worldwide.  

    Six billion people use cell phones today, most of which are actually easy-to-use systems:  portable computers connected to the wireless Internet and running apps, one of which emulates a telephone.

  17. Capt. Aubrey

    In the late ’80s I traded my Epson 8088 for a new Compaq System 3 “portable” computer. They both ran something called Microsoft Smart that contained word processor, spread sheet and data base management capabilites…it was like carrying around a small tv set… no it was heavier and more bulky than that.

  18. Misthiocracy

    I can’t wait for this to hit the conspiracy theorists.

    After all, if you can put this tech in a pill, what’s to stop the Men In Black from putting it in our food? One millimetre-thick tracking devices that broadcast our location from our stomachs!

    “You foiled us with your tinfoil hats, but we have adapted!”

  19. Gus Marvinson

    I wish I were smart enough to understand all the brainiatrics that goes into something like this so I could properly appreciate it. I’m fairly confident the world needs more George Savages, though.

  20. Capt. Aubrey

    Andy Kessler’s book _The End of Medicine_ is an interesting investigation of the same topics. Will testing become so convenient and ubiquitous that we are able to manage our own health better? I expect Obamacare to accelerate a process toward more of the rich who can affored it and something else for the masses…ironicly, but not unsurprsingly, those who demagoge about the rich wind up hurting the poor. It will become ever more like FedEx and the Post Office.

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