GSF India-backed Biosense Technologies has launched a iOS urine testing app called uChek. Available in India and the United States, the company claims that uChek can be used to test for 25 different medical conditions including diabetes, kidney, liver and bladder problems, pre-eclampsia and hypertension, and urinary tract infections.
Users can install the app on their iPhone and read the urine dipsticks with the urine sample using a peripheral called ‘Cuboid’ and color mat. The company says that urine dip sticks begins reacting within 60-120 seconds of dipping them in an urine sample. These sticks should then be read at a specific time after the reaction begins using the app, cuboid and color mat. The reaction for each condition is different as per the instructions given by the urine dip stick manufacturer. The test results can be stored locally on phone, graphically analysed, or the app also allows users to mail the results. The company claims that the results are never stored on its server. Since the data can be stored on the phone, no network or data connectivity is required to retrieve or access the data at any point.
The website states that uChek is a medical device and can be used only for external testing as advised by a healthcare professional. Speaking to Medianama, Myshkin Ingawale, Director of Biosense said that this disclaimer is more in compliance with U.S laws to avoid self-medication and that anybody with a smartphone can use this app on their own. The iOS app is compatible with iPhone 4, 4S and 5 and is available in India for free. The company plans to introduce their android app in July this year. Since the accuracy of the test depends on the quality of the camera in the phone, the company is hesitant about introducing the app in feature phones, adds Ingawale.
However, to use the app, one needs to purchase the uCheck kit which is available for Rs 1,999 in India and $40 in the US. The kit includes the cuboid and the mat, while the urine dip sticks which are available at different price ranges need to be purchased separately. Ingawale also said that the kit is reusable & comes with one year guarantee and that only the dip sticks needs replacing. He adds that uCheck’s trial with the IIT Bombay lab has ended and now it is conducting a 3 month trial with Hyderabad based LV Prasad Eye Institute.
In March 2013, Biosense Technologies had raised $500,o00 funding from GSF India and Insitor Fund to improve the infrastructure around both its products.
Our take: Similar to the way glucometers have changed the way blood sugar levels are monitored by individuals, uChek app can change the way urine testing happens with options to test for multiple health conditions and parameters. However, the cost of the kit can still be a matter of concern to people at the bottom of the pyramid, although their long term cost is lesser than glucometers. The personal usage of the app is limited to people who can afford high end smartphones. Although, it would still be useful in hospitals especially in the developing countries considering the poor healthcare infrastructure that is available.
The accessibility of this app is likely to further increase with their android app. However, since the accuracy of the app depends on the phone’s camera, the app might not give accurate results in all the phones.
Similar initiatives: While we are not familiar of any Indian company offering a similar solution, Denmark-based LineHQ offers a similar iOS app called Piddle. Strangely though, even Piddle doesn’t seem to be available for download from the iTunes store, at the time of writing this article.