We are getting that much closer to building the doctor’s office of the future right within our homes today. Digital health diagnostic tools startup CliniCloud has launched a line of Bluetooth-connected stethoscopes and thermometers that enable consumers to check their own vitals and have a doctor access them via the cloud.
These digital devices can track things like your temperature and heart rate and send a history of the recordings to an on-demand physician. The physician can then give a diagnosis without patients having to leave their homes.
“The stethoscope and thermometer are the two most important tools we have in medicine for diagnosing common conditions,” says CliniCloud co-founder Dr. Andrew Lin. “We are putting these powerful tools into the hands of everyday users, allowing them to accurately record vital signs that can be shared with their primary care doctor as well as a network of on-demand physicians to determine if a cough is just a cold or something more serious, like pneumonia or asthma.”
CliniCloud says it wants to get the kits into consumers’ homes in order to make it easier for people to find out what’s wrong without having to go to a doctor’s office to figure that out. The startup plans to add more hardware devices in the future and is working on a series of partnerships with major retail brands to sell the devices to consumers.
That could possibly save the American consumer a lot of time and money. According to Debt.org, the average 15-minute doctor-office visit cost patients an average of $69 in 2011. That was without a co-pay. Even with insurance and co-pays to help with costs, hauling yourself to the doctor is the last thing most people want to do when sick.
Other startups such as Scanadu offer similar digital tracking of your vitals. The Scanadu Scout is a device you put up to your forehead to measure temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen and respiratory rate. Meanwhile, its Scanaflow device is an at-home urine-testing apparatus that can test for drugs or even a possible pregnancy.
“A lot more healthcare is going to happen in the home in the future,” Lin says. “We fit in as part of that first step into telemedicine.”
Like Scanadu’s devices, the CliniCloud medical kit hooks information from the app up with remote physicians. CliniCloud has set up a special partnership with Doctors On Demand to do this for now, but could expand to include other telemedicine services in the future.
The other thing to keep in mind about the kit is the price. The technology offers convenience, but it’s not cheap. Customers can pre-order the CliniCloud stethoscope and thermometer kit for $109, though prices are expected to go up to $149 next month. Whereas a basic stethoscope is about $5 to $25 on Amazon, and a regular thermometer goes for around $40 on the high-end.
The CliniCloud website is now open for pre-orders and the kits are expected to ship in July.