Urinalysis on your phone



It may not be glamorous, but it’s true – each year, urinary tract infections lead to million doctor visits in the world. But the infection can now be tested for through an iPhone app — uChek — developed by Myshkin Ingawale. This app could also be an effective tool for diabetics whose doctors have recommended regular urine analysis, and for the monitoring of bladder, liver and kidney disorders. It could also be a powerful tool for healthcare professionals in the developing world who hope to bring testing to patients wherever they are, instead of the other way around.

“Early prototypes like the one demoed at TED 2013 were ‘work in process’ and were susceptible to certain ambient light changes and movement errors, and when checked against a conventional laboratory urinalyser it showed lower accuracy,” Ingawale says. “We made some design changes in the system — most notably, the introduction of our patent-pending ‘cuboid’ — a foldable, reusable stand for the iPhone, which improved the accuracy of the new system, making it comparable with a laboratory urinalyser.”

Next up for Ingwale — expanding uChek to Android and other platforms. And, of course, coming up with new ideas for medical apps. “This is our first really big initiative in the world of apps,” he says. “We are looking forward to seeing where this road leads.”
Mr. Myshkin Ingawale declares that, “There needs to be a rethink in the way healthcare is delivered to people. It needs to be far more decentralised. It can become a consumerist movement in the same way that Wikipedia has been for information.”
Mr. Myshkin and his company have become one part of this new moment through their new uChek urine analyzer app.

Developed for the iPhone, the uChek app allows patients to check and track several parameters, such as glucose, pH, and protein levels as seen in their urine. These indicators can provide insight for patients with affected with conditions such as kidney problems, urinary tract infections, or cancer.
Mr. Ingawale expounds the ease of this simple app. The app uses widely available urine dipsticks along with their own “uChek kit” that consists of a uCheck color mat and cuboid to standardize the light and color environment of the dipstick. The user simply places the dipstick in the color mat, and then places both items inside the cuboid. The phone is placed on top of the cuboid to take the necessary pictures.

Not only does this app give the results of a current test but it can also track short and long term trends of all ten testing parameters. Results can be emailed to a healthcare provider at any time.
The uChek app and accompanying kit is being sold for $20 at the Apple store. Biosense is in the process of creating the app for the Android smartphones.

While the app is useful for diligent patients tracking their general health, many anticipate a larger use for it within mobile health clinics. Chief marketing officer of leading mobile technology company GMSA, Michael O’Hara says, “Mobile health has immense potential to improve people’s lives since it increases patient access to quality healthcare whilst reducing costs”

uChek promises to do just that. Early trials are being held at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India where the efficacy of uChek will be tested against more conventional urine analyzers. If uChek continues to prove just as accurate, mobile health providers can save time, money, and space by simply using their smartphones instead of expensive laboratory machines.

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