Several devices are being developed for patients to track their vital signs like heart rate or blood pressure at home which can be wirelessly relayed to a physician through the internet for real-time observation.
“It’s fascinating to think of the endless possibilities of how technology will shape my career as a physician,” Suttle said.
Suttle, who is an avid user of apps, said he is excited about the possibility of patients taking a more active role in managing their health in partnership with their physician through new technologies.
“I see this as the perfect answer for solving the problem, particularly in eastern North Carolina, of the lack of access to health care,” Suttle said. “Forget making the patient find a way to travel to your clinic. Instead give them the tools they need to manage their care and use technology to reach out to them.”
Each TEDMED delegate received a digital pedometer and health tracking device called Fitbit. Participants were challenged to walk the equivalent of circling the globe while they were in D.C.
While falling short of the goal, Suttle has continued using the device. “Having access to these numbers has transformed how I think about the need to stay active,” he said. “I believe this would be true if patients received similar tracking technology of their own health.”
Suttle said he would challenge Greenville’s leaders to pave more sidewalks, ramp up health education in schools and enforce healthier food options in restaurants to make it a model healthy city in North Carolina.
“I believe we play at integral part as a medical school in helping to make this happen, but it will certainly take the whole community buying in and working together to yield such results,” Suttle said.
Suttle, a Monroe native who earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked as a radiologic technologist in interventional radiology before entering medical school.