homeAll kinds of medical devices are making their way from the hospital into the home. Diagnostic and monitoring devices are following that trend. A story from MedGadget reports on a portable tonometer, recently FDA approved, that patients can use in their homes or when they are traveling to monitor their intraocular pressure.

I’m not sure how needed or effective this device is. According to an article in the Review of Optometry, measuring intraocular pressure is tricky and can be affected by a number of factors. Are there a significant number of patients who can benefit from the level of monitoring this device provides? Apparently so.

Regardless of the need and effectiveness of this particular device, the trend it highlights is significant. Enabling people to be able to use diagnostic devices on their own and at their convenience rather than having to go to a doctor’s office is a compelling idea. Designing such devices so that they can be used without requiring training and any special application technique will be the critical factor with regard to whether they succeed or fail.