A number of years ago I described a future state of medical care as “healthcare without walls”. I used the term both literally and figuratively to convey how technological advances would allow for the delivery of medicine outside of traditional settings such as hospitals and clinics, but also how advances in communication, digital health, and mobile/point-of-care diagnostic and treatment modalities would work to democratize care and create greater accessibility. Although we are still some distance from achieving this reality, it is reassuring to see how services such as Sprinter Health are forging ahead to close gaps in patient care.
Without the ability to provide on-site and in-home diagnostic testing, virtual care would be relegated to a glorified triage option with definitive diagnosis for only a handful of conditions amenable to historical information interpretation or tele-visual inspection.
In-home blood draw and on-site simple diagnostic testing greatly expand the opportunity to close care gaps and improve care for the many who suffer from conditions that impact mobility – including diseases and chronic conditions from stroke to severe cardiopulmonary disease to movement disorders like Parkinson’s. This can include even conditions such as Alzheimer’s and vestibular balance disorders that can make a clinic visit difficult or too overwhelming to attempt. Often those with the least ability to follow through with a clinic visit for necessary blood and other laboratory testing are those that would benefit the most, and for whom a missed visit not only results in worsening of their medical conditions but unnecessary additional costs due to delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Creating the infrastructure to operationalize and scale in-home access to diagnostic labs on a regional – let alone a national scale – is no easy task. What Sprinter Health has created is a program that focuses on workable solutions to the many complex barriers to care integration that plague our healthcare system. Their scope of services ranges from ECGs and blood testing to diabetic foot and retinal exams, making quality in-home medical access a reality.
When Max Cohen first asked me to join his team as an Advisory Board member, I had doubts as to the likelihood of success. Now after just two short years, it is evident that Sprinter Health is a major step toward truly achieving a “healthcare without walls” future.