October 23, 2018 / 12:43 PM / 20 days ago

Siemens Healthineers partners with Healthy.io for smartphone-based urine testing

BERLIN (Reuters) - Siemens Healthineers has teamed up with Israeli start-up Healthy.io to allow patients to test their urine at home by using a smartphone camera that scans a dipstick and sends the results to their doctor.

FILE PHOTO: Siemens Healthineers headquarters is pictured in Erlangen near Nuremberg, Germany, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

The alliance is the latest partnership between medtech firms and technology companies aimed at helping patients monitor their own health, as well as lowering the costs of managing chronic diseases.

Urine testing is the world’s second-most frequently conducted diagnostic test. Regular testing is needed to monitor kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease, as well as to detect potential signs of diabetes.

Under the global partnership announced on Tuesday, Healthy.io will use urinalysis tests from Siemens Healthineers in dipkits that are sent to patients at home.

Patients urinate on the dipstick and scan it using their smartphone camera, which uses computer vision and machine learning to ensure the results can be read. The results are then sent via an app to the patient’s medical record for a doctor to assess.

“This alliance expands our capabilities to improve patient experience by conducting testing in their home,” said Christoph Pedain from Siemens Healthineers’ Point of Care Diagnostics business.

Yonatan Adiri, founder and chief executive officer of Healthy.io said the technology, which has gained approval from U.S. and European regulators, was like a “medical selfie” that would improve patient outcomes through more frequent testing.

He said home test kits could help doctors manage the health of diabetes patients and pregnant women that may be reluctant to travel to clinics.

A number of technology companies including Apple, Samsung Electronics and Google are working on health-related applications for wearable devices and smartphones.

Last month, Apple said its new watch can take an electrocardiogram and detect heart problems.

Orthopaedics company Zimmer Biomet is also testing a new app with Apple which would allow patients due to have hip or knee replacements to funnel basic health data from their Apple watches to their surgeons.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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