Adhesive Sensor #2: The Straddle

Pete Celano, 1 April 2017

Adhesive sensors are so torrid — and likely to help transform fitness & healthcare — that I’m making this missive a monthly.

This is now the 2nd of two posts; the first is here.

Consider the Sensor Straddle, if you’re an inventor looking at this skin-stick-on gold rush.

Healthcare is about a three-step process, especially as it (finally, slowly) pivots more to a Wellness Model.  The Wellness Model is not just waiting until the patient spikes — his/her condition often rapidly exacerbating — whereby therapy (medications, surgery) hastily are applied.  Wellness Models are all about getting ahead of the spike.

The three-steps in healthcare are methodically straightforward:

  1. Screening
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Therapy.

The ideal adhesive sensor straddles the first two:  Screening + Diagnosis.

Screeners generally do NOT need any form of FDA clearance.  Diagnostics devices almost always NEED FDA clearance.

Say you are creating an adhesive sensor to measure SLEEP.

Why SLEEP as the example?

According to a 2015 market report published by Persistence Market Research titled “Global Market Study on Sleep Aids: Sleep Apnea to Witness Highest Growth by 2020“, the global sleep aids market was valued at $58.1 billion in 2014 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.7% to account for $80.8 billion by 2020.  Sleep aids are both drugs (e.g., Lunesta, Ambien) and medical devices that help a person to fall asleep.

Ideally, an adhesive sleep sensor would allow for consumers to do some level of DIY, to understand if they have might have a problem.  Next, were they to go to a doctor, to then get the very same form-factor sensor as a diagnostic device makes sense — it might measure more parameters, but the diagnostic device harmoniously would align with the DIY screening device that perhaps was purchased at CVS or Target.

And better, if the healthcare provider itself uses this sensor first as a screener for say 1-3 patient-nights, to be able to then contact the patient and say something like “we’re seeing data that indicates you might have a problem — we’re going to ask you to wear it a bit longer, getting to 4-6 nights total while we gather more data, and then we’ll be able to confirm a diagnosis” would be ideal.

So the reveal here is make your adhesive sensor such that it can be controlled from afar by the provider — it should move data most likely via Bluetooth to the cloud, leveraging the patient’s smartphone or tablet as the means to move the data.

Elegantly simple … and pragmatic for straddling Screening & Diagnosis, and DIY & Provider.

Next month:  How big is too big for an Adhesive Sensor?

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