New app scans for kidney disease

smartphone photo by Pexels
smartphone photo by Pexels

The NHSX, the digital arm of the NHS is rolling out a new project with Healthy.io to offer 500,000 patients access to new technology. The technology, which will initially be aimed at patients with diabetes, high blood pressure or at high risk of kidney disease will allow patients to take a test in the home.

All those participating in the current project, circa 4000 at the moment, building over time will receive a home-testing kit and mobile phone app. The home test kit features a urine dipstick and collection pot and a colour board. The app guides patients through the test. It makes use of the smartphone camera to analyse testing images. It works well under different lights and camera types and having this test on hand will help more people, particularly those embarrassed to approach their GP get a diagnosis and treatment early.

The app will also free up clinicians as it sends results directly to GPs and flags up those who need further diagnostics or treatment.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

This is another brilliant example of how innovative technologies are transforming healthcare and improving lives. Patients are able to receive a diagnosis sooner, saving time for clinicians so they can spend more time on treatment, and ultimately saving more lives through earlier diagnosis.

This innovation is another step forwards in making high-quality healthcare more accessible – in some cases without leaving the comfort of your own home.

The project is one of the innovations being supported by the first round of ‘AI in Health and Care Award’ and already the project is showing results with 1 in 5 of the targets tested in the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust showing they had high or abnormal results.

Having access to at-home tests will no doubt be particularly popular at the moment with the pandemic but it is hoped that long-term, this kind of testing will allow thousands more to be tested and seek treatment at the earliest stages, reducing long-term harm, the need for dialysis and help to save lives.

For more information on the new technology, which may be rolled out in other areas of care, take a look at www.healthy.io

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