Mobile healthcare developer icalQ LLC has been granted a patent for its mobile laboratory platform. The platform uses a reader attachment that the company says is compatible with all smartphones to analyze “biological samples and body fluids” caught on disposable test strips. Software then analyzes the test results and interprets them for the user. In essence, it really is a kind of mobile medical lab.
According to the company’s chief medical officer, Joel Ehrenkranz M.D., the idea sprung from his work dealing with an ebola outbreak in Uganda back in 2007. In a press release, he explained the germ for the idea: ““In the most remote part of Uganda where very little worked, mobile phones did.”
The company’s technology is currently in the initial stages of a roll-out in Thailand and India, where it will be used to screen newborns, and i-calQ says similar programs are unfolding in other South and East Asian countries. The company says that each newborn test can be done in minutes, and costs less than a dollar, so the technology has some real potential to become ubiquitous in medical treatment in the field. It’s an exciting step in the buzzing development of medical applications for biometric technology, which have largely revolved around commercial remote healthcare platforms but have also extended to serious front-line medical services.