Posting in Design
Pretty soon, you'll be able to use a device that will let you take blood tests at home and upload them to your doctor. Are you ready for a digital health revolution?
We've all experienced the frustrating experience of waiting hours at a doctor's office, only then to go into a room with a nurse and have to give a test tube of blood. Your blood is then sent to a lab for tests. Again, you wait days for the results. Enough of the waiting game.
The good news? The slow diagnosis process might soon change, thanks to a certain lab-on-chip technology that has been developed in a lab in Rhode Island.
I can already see the commercial: Blood tests? There's an app for that!
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island have developed a blood test that can produce results in less than a half an hour. All it requires is a drop of your blood...and a lab-on-chip device. The biosensor and micro-pump carry the blood through the device's channels. That's when reagents in the device help sensors sniff out certain diseases.
URI professor Mohammad Faghri said:
This development is a big step in point-of-care diagnostics, where testing can be performed in a clinic, in a doctor’s office, or right at home. No longer will patients have to wait anxiously for several days for their test results. They can have their blood tested when they walk into the doctor’s office and the results will be ready before they leave.
The device can now test for a person's risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases. But the cartridges can be designed to look for biomarkers of other diseases too.
In the future, Faghri thinks the tests can detect pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B and H1N1. The engineers are also working on getting the device ready for detecting Alzheimer's disease.
The sensor costs $3,200 and the tests cost $1.50.
The $1.50 price covers the cost of the credit-card sized cartridge and reagents that are needed to perform the test.
The device will have a sensor you can fit in your hand and may soon come with a smartphone application.
Ultimately, the idea is that you would be able to conduct the blood test yourself at home and upload the results to your doctor using your phone's signal. The researcher thinks the chip technology will be ready for commercialization soon, and of course, he has already filed some patents on the invention.
Personal health apps are starting to make their way into consumer hands.
At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, iHealth showed off their BPM3 Blood Pressure Monitor, which turns your phone into a digital nurse, as it records your blood pressure.
Health technology, plus the popularity of smart phones, will help the personal health movement mature from a cool idea to reality. Think about it: the more data points patients can collect, the better. It gives doctors a better picture of their patient's over-all health.
That's the idea, at least.
Are we in for a digital health care revolution?
Jason Goldberg, founder of Ideal Life, believes we are. Goldberg said in a statement:
"Technologies formally were cost prohibitive. But I can now sit down at the kitchen table for breakfast and check my blood sugar," he said, and transmit the data in real-time to a health care provider using a device that costs less than $100.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Wearing sensors to see how diseases spread
- Super-accurate sensors for fighting crime, medical devices and environmental testing
Jan 14, 2011
well this is an example of politics gone wrong. hearing aids cant be called that if sold in usa harbor freight sells them for $20 can get the same from audiologist for $5000 can get a conference phone for $100 it uses 3-4 microphones for noise canceling and never generates feedback europe has hearing aids bared on the same technology built into glasses , in that it must have several microphones for the noise canceling and directional aspects... perhaps if you want one in usa you could hack a conference phone and put it under your hat I can get glasses at the dollar store for $1 the exact same ones for $20 in a drug store or $100 at an optometrist. this is perhaps a bad example in that there is usually a doctor there who does look in your eyes and checks for eye diseases. the diabetic tests aren't too different from the test strips you could buy for the last 60 years except they are smaller, use less blood, and use led instead of a color chart on a card. These are free if you buy the test strips since the pricing cant compete with the color chart. of course the test strips are a lot smaller so costs are a lot less, but as with everything else they can find ways to raise the prices. perhaps if the new governor in California doesn't support the terminators veto of CA840 it could pave the way to health care in the usa.
Smart Point of Care testing devices have been around for some time, notably for diabetics. As these devices proliferate offering new analytes problems will inevitably emerge, e.g. who decides what tests are appropriate for the patient, how is the test result validated for precision and accuracy and will such tests get regulatory approval? (FDA in the US & CE in Europe). I've been employed in biomedical sciences for decades and during that time there has been much centralisation of lab tests. Turn round times have shortened and the only reason for a delay in getting results to the patient's physician is poor networking. In Scotland most labs send test results over a secure private network to a central web based store as soon as they're validated where they can be viewed by the health care professionals involved in the patient's care.