NHS England Uses Smartphone Testing for Early Kidney Disease

Dawn O'Shea

February 09, 2021

Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are benefiting from pioneering artificial intelligence that turns a smartphone camera into a clinical-grade tool to detect early kidney disease. The test kit and smartphone app allow patients to test, scan and transmit their results to their GP within minutes, without leaving home.

NHSX, the technology arm of NHS England, is supporting Healthy.io to offer 500,000 patients technology-supported home-testing kits over the next three years. More than 3,500 patients have already received their kits.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the technology “essentially turns patients’ smartphone cameras into medical devices - analysing testing images and producing results regardless of lighting conditions, setting or camera type”.

“This new testing and technology is designed to reduce unnecessary trips to the GP and hospital. It should encourage more people to seek an early diagnosis, ultimately saving thousands of lives each year,” the department said in a statement.

Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said: “Artificial intelligence holds enormous potential for the NHS and in many areas is already providing radical benefits for patients and clinicians.

“The use of this latest testing technology is another huge step forward enabling us to provide earlier diagnosis of disease and improve patient care and treatment outcomes while also freeing up NHS staff.”

The technology is one of 42 innovations that are being supported by the first round of the AI in Health and Care Award programme, managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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