More and more, we’re seeing new technology that attempts to bring the doctor’s office into the home. We’re not just talking about fitness trackers – those are more for motivation than anything. We’re talking about home testing kits, in the same vein as home kits for those with diabetes who need to monitor blood sugar. Tests that would cost a whole lot more if you went to the hospital to get them done – which is why people don’t get those tests very often. So, the prospect of being able to monitor or test for inflammation, Vitamin D, fertility, testosterone, and the flu at home is a compelling one.
That’s what Cue is promising. Cue is a small, handheld device that comes with cartridges that can be used to measure each of those five health factors. The cartridges are single-use, and work with swabs that you use to collect either nasal, saliva, or blood samples (which one you need to collect depends on which test you’re using). Even though the cartridges are single-use (they’re cheap, but it’ll add up if you plan on using Cue every day), the benefit of something like Cue is clear – instead of periodical check-ups, you can establish a personal baseline for yourself, and immediately notice potential problems when things get out of whack. Cue communicates over Bluetooth 4.0 with iOS and Android devices, so you’ll get detailed charts to look at whenever you like on the app. The idea if well executed, could do a lot to relieve health care costs.
Cue also makes health suggestions based on your readouts – what foods to eat if your Vitamin D levels are low, for example. Ideally, it’s something you’ll be able to use to build healthy habits on a daily basis, which could prevent a whole crop of maladies form ever forming. At the very least, it’ll tell you when to see a doctor, so you can get little problems resolved before they become bigger. The idea of a home testing kit like this is really something to get excited about.
But, there are a couple things to consider first. Most obvious is that the people who most need relief when it comes to health care costs might not be able to afford this, either – Cue will be available in limited supply for $150, and then $200, before selling at its regular price of $300. There’s also the costs of the replacement cartridges to consider.
The most important thing to realize with Cue is that you’re more or less participating in a beta release, and that can be a daunting proposition, since we’re talking about health. Cue is not yet FDA approved – the tests themselves, and thus the suggestions the app gives you as a result, are still pending rigorous study. That’s not to say Cue doesn’t work, but anyone pre-ordering Cue should understand that results and suggestions need to be taken with caution, and that their feedback is actually going to be part of the FDA approval process.
So, there’s a lot to be excited about with Cue, but, as always with new tech, use caution. Pre-orders for Cue are now open – the first 1,000 units will cost $150, with the rest of the pre-order stock selling for $200. When Cue hits retail, it’ll sell for $300. You’ll have to wait some time to start using Cue, though – shipping isn’t slated to begin until spring of 2015.