Thanks to the attached mobile computing power your smartphone camera can be used for more than just taking holiday snaps. A product from Israel-based company Healthy.io is a prime example. Dip.io uses a smartphone and a dipstick to perform urine tests that can detect ten indicators of disease, infection, and pregnancy-related complications.
The system is very simple from a user point of view. You capture a photo of the dipstick against a color and Dip.io does the rest. The app uses machine learning to color correct the image, considering camera make and model, lighting conditions and a variety of additional variables. The app then performs an instant analysis.
In clinical trials undertaken in the process of receiving FDA approval, Dip.io was capable of matching the accuracy of professional laboratories. This is achieved at a considerably lower cost and less inconvenience to the patient as the system removes the need for visits to a physician and lab referrals. In addition, it does away with waiting time for the results.
The makers of the system say that this could encourage more patients to undertake regular screenings which could save them dialysis or even a transplant by detecting signs of kidney problems early.
According to an analysis by York Health Economics Consortium, in the UK alone the new technology could result in early diagnosis of more than 33,000 cases over five years and estimated savings of more than £670 million ($867 million). Healthy.io is currently running a pilot program with the pharmacist Boots UK. Women who suspect they have urinary tract infections can use the system to self-test and receive treatment from a pharmacist without seeing a doctor or visiting a lab. The results of the pilot are expected to be announced in May.