Patients who have had a kidney transplant are benefitting from the latest smartphone technology to improve the way infections are detected and treated.
A cohort of 22 post-transplant patients – who are particularly prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) – is trialling home-testing kits that are linked to a unique and clinically-approved phone app.
Using the latest in image recognition and artificial intelligence (AI), it transforms the patient’s smartphone into a clinical-grade scanner – with the same pinpoint accuracy as lab-based analysis.
The trial has been developed by our kidney transplant and Future Digital teams in partnership with clinical technology specialists, Healthy.io, and will be formally evaluated later this year.
Previously, at the first sign of infection, these patients would have to make an appointment to visit their GP, give a urine sample for lab diagnosis, and wait – sometimes up to three days – for the results and the start of medication.
Now they simply undertake the same dipstick test in the comfort of their own home in a matter of minutes, usingtheir smartphone camera to capture the readings.
At the touch of a button, these results are then transmitted to our kidney transplant team, who can prescribe appropriate antibiotics – according to our established protocol – straight away.
The team believes that the way this technology has speeded up diagnosis and treatment has prevented hospital admission in some cases.
Initial feedback from patients has been extremely positive with a score of 88 being reported by the Net Promoter tool analysing client experience and loyalty – in an environment where over 70 is considered world-class.
Consultant nephrologist, Dr Rachel Middleton, said: “With a weakened immune system following transplant, our patients are particularly prone to UTIs. Early detection plays an important role in reducing the severity of the infection and the risk of contracting life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis and acute kidney injury (AKI).”
“The technology we are testing turns an everyday smartphone into a diagnostic device, transforming the way urine tests are performed. It has taken a tried and tested medical tool – the dipstick – and taken it into the 21st century to analyse a range of different infections.”
The kit – known as Dip.io – contains detailed instructions for home-testing and disposable test strips and testing cups.