The Pocket Doctor – Laboratory Results Using A Smartphone

Allyson McFadden


Researchers have recently invented a device they call a “dongle,” which is in short, a diagnostic test that is based on microfluidics that runs strictly on the power from a smartphone headphone jack. The dongle runs a complete immunoassay and tests for HIV and syphilis by searching for specific antibodies in the patient’s blood. Researchers put it to the test most recently in Rwanda as a blind experiment in which health care workers used the dongle to obtain results in 15 min or less on the app, which is synced with the tool. The given results from the dongle without a doubt rivals gold standard laboratory-based tests as their sensitivity and specificity compete closely with one another. Thus, proving that with advancing technology and coupling microfluidics, clinics and communities that are poor in resources might be able to provide laboratory-like diagnostics to a population that otherwise wouldn’t typically receive that type of advanced care all through a pocket-sized device.

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