Health care - four basic biggies
Trauma (stabs, car wrecks, falls, etc)
The problems we're having with health care are two-fold: 1) expense, and 2) lack of supply to meet the demand.
Both of these two problems can be addressed to a large extent with Do It Yourself (DIY)
technology. There's no reason to wait two weeks to see a doctor, when
some of the same information he can glean about your body is discernible
using modern technology.
For trauma issues, your best best is the Emergency Room; they're not called Trauma Centers for nothing.
For diseases other than cancer and heart attacks, there's such a myriad of possibilities that there's
not any one good solution. However, I've recently learned that for men, a
quick, easy home test for prostate problems is a dollar-version of an
Early Pregnancy Test (EPT) from the local Dollar Store - a positive
result means you should seek medical care; a negative result means
you're probably good until your next prostate exam. There are probably a
host of little DIY tricks like this which could go a long way toward
making the consumer of health-care more capable of being proactive in
his/her own health.
There's probably not a medical professional alive who would go on-record
suggesting an EPT for testing for prostate problems. If there was one
case where the EPT failed to indicate prostate problems and someone
developed serious complications from failure to seek professional help,
that doctor would likely be ruined. So I doubt that the claim of EPT
testing for prostrate problems can be verified as being a valid test.
But assuming it is a valid test, how many other simple, cheap tests are
available to address a lot of medical issues which are simply being
buried by the current culture of medicine?
Some cancers are detectable by blood tests; some are not. However, if we
had a simple DIY blood test, available for home use, or perhaps at a
$5/test kiosk at your local pharmacy or E.R., this could go a long way
toward making early detection and treatment of many cancers a reality,
which would save a lot of lives and lots of money.
I believe this is doable; all it would take is someone with the
necessary knowledge to put it together, and then for some
marketer/hospital to make it available to the masses on the cheap. This
might cut into the profits of the health industry, but for those members
of the industry whose mission is to provide care rather than to make
money, it could be a means to fulfill their mission.
One of the prime problems with heart attacks is the hesitancy to seek
help. You lay in bed at 1am, wondering if this chest pain is a heart
attack or just that last slice of pizza disagreeing with you. You could
call an ambulance and rack up a multi-thousand dollar bill, and stay up
all night in an uncomfortable trauma center room, only to find out it's
just a pinched nerve, or you could lay there wondering until you die.
If we had a simple blood test to check for the markers of a heart
attack, that'd go a long way toward getting people to the
professionals when they're needed.
I had originally conceived of a self-serve kiosk at the local E.R. into
which you put your $5 bill to pay for all the sticky-leads and etc of an
EKG (ECG?) machine, but was recently told that a blood test is much
more reliable than an EKG (ECG?). So how about a self-serve kiosk that
lets you prick your finger like a blood-sugar test, put a few drops of
blood onto a sampler, and presto, you have your results? "Yes, your
blood markers indicate that you're having a heart attack. Seek medical
help immediately." Or, "Your blood markers are normal. You're probably
not having a heart attack, but it would be best to seek a professional's
advice." If the blood test is really accurate, this would save a lot of
lives, as well as money.
I wouldn't be surprised if a simple light-beam, or audio signal, etc,
shone through the skin flap between one's fingers and into a receiver
couldn't take the place of actual blood-letting for many blood tests,
including that for blood-sugar levels. How many diabetics would
I think we can do this. Let's do it.