The take-home lesson from the Theranos fiasco is that unlike the emergence of other technologies that many did not see coming, the market for easy DIY tests exists, is huge and is waiting. Take over-the-counter pregnancy tests, they are popular and have become the norm, because women trust that most of the time they work reliably and accurately. What we can also learn from the Theranos controversy is that even when the market is ready, there is a need to wait when a new technology is not ripe or to be more exact, when it is flawed and the errors have greater consequences. When a computer or smartphone fails to turn on, it is an annoyance, but it is not comparable to getting a false result on a medical test. A false positive, as an erroneous positive test is called in statistics, can lead to worrying, spending time and money on doctor visits, and on more tests. Technologies that involve medical diagnosis and test kits need to be evaluated thoroughly even if the market, the public and investors clamor to get it now.
According to Theranos Yelp reviews, which seem legitimate because they involve complaints, it is clear what customers were looking for: “I can’t imagine going back to the way it was before when everything had to go through a doctor’s office for a lab order” and “very easy draws, and super fast results - through an app no less”, and avoiding the wait at medical diagnostic offices. Together with the millions in funding that Theranos got, it shows that it is only a matter of time before the flood gates of self-measurement and personal health data collection and storage open wide. When that happens, medicine as we know it today will change.
I agree with your comments about the need. We can divide that need into medical testing as part of doctor managed healthcare and at home layperson managed health optimization.
I am particularly interested in at home blood chemistry monitoring for health optimization. Getting stuck for a blood panel at a doctor’s office is not particularly onerous to me and the information is quite valuable. However I only get my numbers about once per year. And I am sure medical care would gain from more frequent and less elaborate sampling.
On the other hand, I would love to know key numbers on a daily basis.
I am curious if there are any QS opinions and/or more detailed knowledge of the Cor platform. If it performs as it is advertised it would be a great addition to my monitoring regime.
“Cor wants people to test themselves in their own homes, using an appliance the size of an electric toothbrush and disposable cartridges. Their blood chemistry information is then sent “into the cloud,” analyzed, and results are beamed backed to users within five minutes, along with helpful tips about how to improve them”
Any thoughts, feedback, pointers to alternatives would be appreciated.
Interesting article! No I was not aware of Cor. But what mattered to me after what happened with Theranos was reading this “Cor is now publishing those results in order to allow peer review and promote understanding of its approach”. Which to me means, we have to wait before getting too excited. No other company will get a free ride on this anymore.
Technology is becoming the vital part of our health. From pregnancy to having blood test, these things have became DIY, and result also are trustworthy and accurate. I mean you can relay on these things.
Thanks for the link ejain. There are many companies brewing their products and although it is only a matter of time when we will start using these devices, there will be failures along the way and delays, so, will it be 1 year or 5 or more?
From the quote below I see that the product is “supposed” to measure something and that they are still in the “Development” phase for other tests:
After seeing the Cue’s technology, which is “supposed” to measure saliva or blood for testosterone levels and Vitamin D in a matter of minutes, Sharkey immediately called her old colleagues at Johnson & Johnson. Within months of meeting Cue, Johnson and Johnson signed a partnership with the startup to “develop” a specialized HIV test …
Looking forward to getting my hands on one of these devices (if I can afford it ).
I measure what goes in – I measure the output (at least in terms of fitness measures, gross body measures, etc.) but I can’t see inside! Love to track my cholesterol, stress hormones and the like in real time. Closest I’ve come is with Heart Rate Variability and I feel that I have had mixed results with that.