Joe Kiani likes to point out that the most worn spot on most medical monitoring devices is the mute button.
He’s out to change that — and, he hopes, to stop the epidemic of preventable hospital death that kills tens of thousands of Americans each year.
It’s not a glamorous cause. And Kiani is not a household name. But he is a multimillionaire with a proven track record of using engineering smarts to fix dogged problems; he made his fortune improving the humble pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen saturation in the blood. Now, he’s pushing a nerdy, but elegant, idea for saving lives: prodding manufacturers of medical devices and electronic records to open their platforms so all the systems can talk to each other.
His tech fix — if widely implemented — could bring order to the cacophony of beeps, buzzes, and blaring alarms that can so overwhelm nurses and doctors that they push “mute” and miss true emergencies. It could make it easier for staff to monitor patients with complex needs. And it could flag, in advance, potentially fatal errors like incorrect dosing and drug allergies.
Manufacturers, naturally, aren’t so eager to share their computer code. But Kiani is not one to give up.