The test project will, for the first time in the UK, enable a group of patients to do regular urine tests at home using their smartphone cameras and a digital testing kit.
The initiative is part of Salford Royal’s Global Digital Exemplar programme, which is driving digital maturity across the NHS. This project uses Healthy.io’s Dip.io – a smartphone based urinalysis device. Dip.io is one of 37 high impact, evidence-based innovations being supported to spread across England’s NHS through the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA).
The project, known as the ‘Salford Royal Virtual Renal Clinic’, will open with its first 50 patients this month. Using their smartphone cameras and a digital testing kit developed by Healthy.io, patients will be able to test their urine from home, reducing the need to visit hospital for the simple test. The urine test will deliver accurate results electronically to the doctor in real time.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) costs the NHS £1.45 billion in England alone – £1 for every £77 spent in the system according to Insight Health Economic Study for NHS Kidney Care (2012) report – making early intervention and proactive disease management essential to both improving patient outcomes and reducing cost.
“This is great news for patients with kidney conditions and we’re really excited to be the first NHS organisation to be trying out this smartphone camera testing. We’re hoping this will not only make it easier for patients but, will empower them to share responsibility for their overall health,” said Dr Jim Ritchie, consultant kidney physician at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.
This approach will allow patients requiring regular urine testing to reduce the frequency of their visits to the hospital, enabling clinics to reduce waiting times for other patients and relieving pressure on hospital resources, from car parks to waiting room space and beyond. Another goal is to upgrade patient testing rates, helping foster early detection and prevent more serious conditions from developing.
“Our goal is to enhance and transform the care patients receive through the use of digital technology,” said Katherine Ward, UK Managing Director for Healthy.io and 2017 NIA Fellow.
“Testing your urine in the comfort of your own home will bring huge convenience to kidney patients and also has the potential to improve the experience of other groups of people, for example pregnant women or people with diabetes as well as being a cost-effective service for the NHS. We are thrilled that Salford Royal has selected us to be part of such an important test to change process. Salford Royal is helping lead the charge for improved care through advanced digital technology, and we are proud to partner with them in this initiative.”