Could smartphones democratise healthcare and relieve the pressure on healthcare facilities? Louise Frampton discusses how the combination of mobile devices with diagnostic tools could offer new possibilities to test, track and treat conditions – from rapid diagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and HIV, to the tracking of Ebola outbreaks.
It has been proposed that the use of digital technologies could reduce waiting times for diagnoses, improve access to diagnostics in resource deprived or remote locations, allow testing to be performed outside of a traditional healthcare setting, and assist with appropriate antibiotic prescribing and clinical decision making. The combination of smartphones and diagnostic tools has the potential to improve outcomes by enabling faster treatment of infections, while achieving better disease control during outbreaks.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum, in January 2020, Professor Molly Stevens from the Department of Materials, at Imperial College London, discussed: ‘Biosensors and the future of diagnostics’.1 She pointed out that infectious diseases disproportionately affect low income countries.
“There is a need to develop diagnostics that are simpler, cheaper, more effective and globally accessible. This could help democratise access to healthcare,” she commented.
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