Originally Posted by mstone
I wonder what the target market is for this system. Hospitals and clinics already have commercial testing equipment. If their system did drug testing then I could see a huge market for it, but after reading the web site, apparently it is not for that purpose. Currently available private use drug test cards are about $5 a test.
mstone, Many patients, including myself, must regularly check their own urine using these sorts of dipsticks. Several times per day.
Just today I was looking for an app merely to record my results on, before deciding that my iPhone's "notepad" app was all I needed. However, the type of app described in this article would be extremely useful, especially if it included a timing alarm, since the readings must be taken at a 30 or 60 second interval, depending.
Now, as a scientist, I will say that the obvious problem with this app is the limitations on it's ability to correlate a color shade with a standard. Typically, these test strips are supplied with a reference card which the user compares the color of the dipstick with the color on the card. The color graduations can be subtle in hue and brightness. The reference card must be printed using an ink and paper system that is proven to be stable through the expiration date of the test strip lot number. The human eye is able to automatically "color balance" objects to compensate for the ambient light (such as tungsten or fluorescent lamps, or sunshine, etc.) Because the eye is comparing the stick to a reference that is illuminated by exactly the same light source, the comparison is valid.
I have not used the UChek device, but it is POSSIBLE that it merely photographs the dipstick, and electronically compares the colors it sees to an internal standard. Thus, the snapshot of the dipstick will reflect colors under the influence of a lighting system not accounted for by the Uchek device, and thus yield incorrect results. Furthermore, I have noted that different brands of these kits do not use exactly the same shades on their reference cards, nor at the same concentration increments. So if the patient is using a different brand than supported by the Uchek device, the results will be incorrect. Because the diagnostic medical nature of these kits can be critically important in disease management, such arbitrary variation is unacceptable. Of course, it is also POSSIBLE that the Uchek device uses the iPhone to photograph both the dipstick and the users reference card, simultaneously, and also allows the user to assign the values to the colors on the reference card. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to hold a dipstick, a reference card (often glued to the test strip bottle), and also manage the iPhone to take a photograph, with only two hands. Furthermore, close-up photography is subject to incidental shadows and non-uniformities in brightness, even when a flash is used, and so the result COULD still be inaccurate.
HOWEVER, if the makers of Uchek can satisfy the FDA on these and other aspects which I may not have thought of, this would be an excellent aid to my ongoing regimen.
I am not a physician, nor affiliated with any medical test kit manufacturer, and the statements above are my own opinions only.