One of our previous blog posts ‘Sharing your iPhone Health Data for Medical Research’ about Apple’s ResearchKit described how sensors in iPhones are being used to collect and share medical data on a range of medical conditions to improve treatments. Now another company, Cellscope, has turned the iPhone into a clinical grade microscope incorporating a medical diagnostic to screen blood for wriggling parasites. The device has been trialled successfully in Cameroon, Africa.
A single touch of the iPhone screen moves a tiny blood sample and automatically captures and analyses video images. The movement of the parasite is detected rather than looking for shape. Screening for the parasites is critical because the treatments for different types of parasites vary and can conflict with each other.
The screening can be conducted by people with minimal training and completed in two minutes allowing health workers to make potentially life-saving decisions on the field. Tropical medicine experts see the iPhone diagnostic as a major advance in treating parasitic diseases such as river blindness and elephantiasis.
Celloscope has also developed Oto HOME™, a medical imaging attachment for iPhones allowing the symptoms of ear infections in children to be captured at home and sent to on-call doctors for an evaluation within two hours.
Patient privacy is protected, however, aggregated data allows health trends to be identified in particular geographic areas thanks to the proliferation of iPhones, demand for services and the effectiveness of treatments to measure in statistically significant numbers.