Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 27, 2013

Analyzing a Urine Sample? There's an App for That

In the developing world, most healthcare facilities don’t have the funds to purchase $10,000 machines that are designed to analyze urine samples.

Thanks to entrepreneur Myshkin Ingawale of Biosense Technologies, these clinics can now analyze urine samples with a smartphone.

I realize that this idea may bring bad visuals to your mind. Rest assured that Ingawale’s idea does not involve getting any urine on your precious mobile device.

Instead, patients urinate on a test strip that detects substances like glucose, proteins, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, bilirubin and hematuria. The strip changes color according to the substances present in the urine.

Doctors then place the test strip on a pad that neutralizes the colors. They snap a photo of the test strip with their smartphone, and the app, which is called Ucheck, analyzes the test strip to see which substances are present.

Detecting certain substances can equal early detection for diabetes, for kidney, liver and bladder disorders, or for urinary tract infections. In addition, since many healthcare workers in the developing world have no training, the app delivers easy-to-understand labels like positive or negative, “trace” or “large,” or numbers.

If healthcare workers don’t know the significance of having a high level of leukocytes in the urine, for instance, then they can simply tap the leukocytes indicator on the smartphone screen and read more information about possible underlying conditions and treatments.

According to Wired, Ingawale first tested Uchek on his own father-in-law, who is diabetic. Ingawale says that his father-in-law tested his urine and e-mailed the information to Ingawale’s wife.

“My wife is the one who wants the information,” Ingawale told Wired. “She wants to make sure he’s taking care of himself.”

Instead of paying $10,000 for a machine, clinics in the developing world can now pay $20 for the Uchek app and a pack of test strips. Biosense also developed a needle-free test to check for anemia in women using smartphone technology.

“The medical device industry operates on proprietary, closed hardware and a recurring revenue business model,” Ingawale pointed out. “I am trying to democratize healthcare.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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