The Current State of Health Care in the United States
In the United States, 20% of our GDP is spent on healthcare, with this rate rising faster than any other country. In comparison, France, UK, Germany, Japan, and Canada spend between 9 and 11%. That means that our (political) economy is suffering from underinvestment in productivity growth because we are grossly inefficient. According to a report by the CMS, national health care spending is projected to outpace growth in the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the near future, largely fueled by changes in economic growth and an aging population. Providing health care in America has become a profit-centered industry, as opposed to a system focused on altruism, alleviation of human suffering and sense of community. This system of for-profit health care, motivated by economic gain, commercializes health care and has the potential to harm society, rather than benefit it, depriving many people of the health care they need. This commodification of the U.S. health system, with market imperatives, placing a higher value on profits, devaluing human needs, dignity and equality in the process. The BeCare Link business model aspires to and can effect significant change with a central focus on lowering the cost for continuing care of MS, Aging, and Parkinson’s patients, from what is currently $2,000 to $3,000 per patient to a more affordable $200-300 per year. By putting technology to work in innovative ways, we can drive down the cost, accomplishing a bilateral goal of saving money and proferring better care. This platform can be replicated throughout the health care industry by applying modern sensing, big data, AI, and robotic inventions to other niches, thereby driving down the cost of care to parallel the 10% spent by other countries.
Controlling Cost by Using Already Existing Technology
For example, the BeCare Link app uses sensors already present in cell phones, rather than incurring exorbitant costs to purchase equipment to conduct measurements. These functions are accomplished through the use the accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetic sensors in the participant’s phone that determine when the person makes a tilting motion, takes a step, alters their position, or moves their arms. Each activity on the BeCare Link app has a unique sequence of steps the user must complete that correspond to standard functional tests typically performed by clinicians during neurological assessments to obtain gold standard measurements of data. The App activity initiated by selecting “Transcription Test” from the Wellness Workout landing page measures Central Auditory Processing, or the ability to understand speech. Other activities measured by the BeCare Link App include standard motor skills through activities such as walking (25 Steps, 6 Minute Walk), repetitive arm movements (Arm Elevation), or the TUG test, which involves transitioning from a seated position, to standing, walking, and then returning to the starting point.
The BeCare Link app and the Larger Process
In addition to storing functional data on the mobile device, the BeCare Link App is also part of larger process which permanently stores and analyzes this data in the BeCare Link Cloud, through the utilization of machine learning algorithms (MLA’s). MLA’s are implemented to produce an EDSS score for each user that is subject to fluctuation over time. Because BeCare Link clinical researchers will be able to analyze data from all users in an aggregative quantitative process, study participants will be contributing to future advancements of medical treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.