(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10 and 11-20 formatted for tablets and e-books?  Click links for download.  America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10)  America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20)

Scene: Jordan in Doctor’s Office following annual physical

doctor-clipart-illustration-31325Doctor: “Thanks for sticking around after your physical.”

Jordan: “My thanks to you for taking time to meet.”

Doctor: “Let’s continue.”

Jordan: “Gene, with the revolution, we…and as I keep reminding everyone ‘collective we’…have a chance to make improvements in many programs, including healthcare. No more $89,000 for shots.”  (14 02 11 Charlotte (NC) Observer Article re Cost for Snake Bite)

Doctor: “We definitely need some changes, starting with more focus on health and less on politics.”

Jordan: “Here’s an idea that seems to have a high payoff potential and is less political.”

Doctor: “I’m all ears.”

Jordan: “The idea is not new but seems the implementation has been lacking. The plan is to use technology to help people stay at home as long as possible.”

Doctor: “We use technology to keep some patients at home but probably could do much more. What prompted the idea?”

Jordan: “Personal experience. My father-in-law lived probably 10 years longer because of some low-cost, relatively simple outpatient programs.”

Doctor: “What medical facility?”

Jordan: “Veteran’s Administration Hospital, central Illinois.”

Doctor: “If it is the VA hospital I’m thinking of, they’ve done a very good job at extending lives and quality of lives for veterans.”

Jordan: “My thought is to combine what the VA is already doing, at least in one location, with what major manufacturing firms are doing.”

Doctor: “What do you mean?”

Jordan: “Earlier you talked about focusing on health. Maintaining health is really a systems approach – diet, exercise, sleep, etc. Manufacturing companies use a systems approach to solve problems and increase productivity.”

Doctor: “I agree a systems approach would be more effective. What about the technology? Medical equipment always seems so expensive.”

Jordan: “That’s where some new thinking can really help. Clearly I am not the medical expert, you are. But let’s think about what might cause people health problems – not taking medicine, spoiled food, undiagnosed emerging issues, a fall or injury…and many others that I’m not aware of.”

Doctor: “Each one of those is a problem for almost everyone, especially the elderly. What are you proposing?”

Jordan: “My idea is to use existing, affordable, off-the-shelf technology to help address these issues. But use technology in a way that might be different from current medical practice.”

Doctor: “Give me a specific example?”

Jordan: “Let’s take sensors. A wide variety of commercial sensors is available at relatively low-cost. The sensors can track everything from movement to coloration to chemical content…virtually everything.”

Doctor: “Tell me more about tracking movement. Are you talking GPS?”

Jordan: “No, although a mini-GPS system will help locate people in a defined area. Panera, for example, has kiosks for ordering and then uses a mini-GPS system to find your table.”

Doctor: “What are you thinking about?”

Jordan: “Are you familiar with the Segway — sort of an upright platform with two-wheels?”  (http://www.segway.com/)

segwayDoctor: “I’ve seen it but never been on one.”

Jordan: “The sensors in the Segway measure when the rider is leaning forward or backward and adjust the angle of the platform automatically. The Segway also remains upright when the rider stops.”

Doctor: “I did not realize it was so sophisticated. Is the idea to use sensors from the Segway or some other device to measure whether people are having trouble walking, getting up or when they fall?”

Jordan: “Yes. The sensors would measure the rate of change of movement to predict when something might happen.”

Doctor: “Interesting. What else?”

Jordan: “Sensors could measure temperature – of water, of the refrigerator, of the oven tops. Sensors could also measure CO2. Data from all these measurements can be transmitted and read remotely. Adjustments to settings can be made remotely. Turning down the oven temperature, for example, could be done remotely or linked to an algorithm and the adjustment made automatically if the temperature falls outside a range…no pun intended.”

Doctor: “You can do better, Jordan.  So someone, the individual, the caregiver, medical staff could set the parameters for highs and lows. Now we are making progress. Keep talking.”

Jordan: “No surprise, sensors can measure body temperature.”

Doctor: “What about analyzing urine and stool samples? Both are excellent early indicators of problems.”

Jordan: “Take the sensors currently used in the lab for these measurements.  Repackage for home use. The accuracy might not be quite as good but it will be close.”

Doctor: “Then, if the results fall outside a certain range, the primary care physician and/or caregiver could be notified. If the results indicate a dangerous situation, ER could be notified.”

Jordan: “You’ve got the idea. We could also add chips to make sure medicine is being taken in proper doses.”

Doctor: “The list seems almost endless. We could even have regular Skype calls with patients and/or caregivers.”

Jordan: “The goal is to keep people in their home or apartments longer. Years ago I belonged to an association that designed products for seniors.”

Doctor: “You were a little young for that organization weren’t you?”

Jordan: “During my auto days we had a car that sold well among seniors and I joined to learn more about seniors. People in the organization for seniors used to comment that the last thing that you saw before someone was transferred to assisted living or a nursing home was fingernail marks on the front door.”

Doctor: “I understand that. Many of my patients would live longer, healthier lives if they could be at home.  Virtually everyone wants to be at home. How do we implement your ideas?”

Jordan: “Don’t know exactly. But I will put some ideas together and then try to get someone to spearhead the effort. Could you be a consultant to the group?”

Doctor: “Definitely. Would be an honor to help. Now we need to end this conversation. I have more patients to see.”

Jordan: “Gene, thank you very much.”

Doctor: “Jordan, thanks for asking.”