When we share a statement such as this one, many times, it comes from either direct experience or from historical accounts published over the years. This is an unusual case where both historical accounts and current scenarios support such actions.

Do we have evidence?

As a start to this evidential presentation, we would like to produce an evidence of oximeter recently purchased from a global retailer. This product was sold for around $40 and you can see where it was manufactured and who is distributing the same.

EXHIBIT-I: Oximeter purchased with information on manufactured country of origin and the distributor of the product

EXHIBIT-II: Oximeter paid price

Can we get oximeter for better prices?
There are third-party eCommerce platforms out there, which provide avenues to buy from different smaller distributors and retailers giving us more options in terms of pricing. However, we can't be certain about the quality of oximeters available through those platforms.

Does it mean that we should not buy those oximeters?
As these are registered and established eCommerce platforms, we are going through channels approved in the mainstream to make such purchases. However, we don't know the level of oversight offered by these platforms in terms of quality of sellers and their products, and hence, we can't be assured of the quality.

Keeping this in mind, it finally boils down to quality assurance vs price. If the same unit, which is likely to be sold for one sixth to one fourth compared to the price offered by bigger retailers and distributors, pricing will be a primary factor of consideration for the end-consumers.

What is the use of Oximeter?
To start with, let us briefly explain what the oximeter does. Oximeter is a photoelectric device that measures the oxygen content in our blood. There are various types of oximeters, which we will not delve further in this article. Most common oximeters, nowadays, includes a reusable probe that usually responds to the pulsations in the capillary bed and determines the oxygen level in the blood through utilization of a differential measurement technique.

Normal and Abnormal values
Generally agreed upon normal values from the oximeter measurement is between 95-100% of blood hemoglobin saturation, whereas the chronic values vary from around 88-92% or lesser. The medical/scientific term that is normally used for oxygen levels lesser than 95% is Hypoxemia.

How about utilization of oximeters in general, and for Covid-19 situations?
Research studies have mixed views on this topic in terms of utility of oximeters specifically for early detection of Covid-19 cases. Personally, my take is that if the detector in place and utilized is accurate and if the oxygen level drops to chronic levels of 92% of lesser, most probably, the ill effect coming from depleted oxygen levels would itself be an indicator to see a physician. There are many more details involved while monitoring oxygen levels using oximeters and when oximeters are found to be of great value, which is beyond the scope of this article. 

Moreover, as with any interactive monitoring tools, there needs to be some level of caution, especially among those having little knowledge in this area. We do have various learning tools available out there to enhance our understanding in this area. However, caution is required for any such utility of health related tools not confined to oximeters among non-medical professionals as anxiety and misinterpretation of health results could aggravate health conditions.

How about the price through such third-party platforms?
This will be captured in our next article. 

Coming Next ....

We will provide a then/now situation in terms of changes in pricing between now and during a normal time. How functional are these devices and do you have any insight on the quality of these devices?