The term “self-diagnosis” stirs up images of hypochondriac tendencies: a guy bent over a computer late at night, eyes wide with fear, scanning Web M.D. for answers.
But a Cambridge, Mass.-based company, DNA Medical Institute (DMI) aims to change that with their new device, the rHEALTH sensor.
The product can identify more than 100 diseases by collecting a single drop of blood. Once the blood has been run through the machine, a diagnosis is sent via Bluetooth to the patient’s smartphone, according to Wired.
It’s easy, and it’s quick. Plus, the sensor uses 1,500 times less blood than conventional, clinical testing.
Aside from being just much more convenient, this device actually poses radical potential for restructuring broken areas in the country’s health care system. For instance, The Huffington Post’s Dr. Eric Van Gieson mentions the issue of having patients wait for test results in rooms occupied by other, potentially sicker and contagious patients — ultimately reducing the number of sick patients, which would lower overall health care costs. He also brings up the problem of inadequate doctor-patient ratios.
The rHEALTH sensor offers solutions to these problems — giving individuals the ability to easily monitor their own health, thus keeping them away from a waiting room’s petri dish of infectious diseases, while also increasing the number of treatment options.
“There used to be no method for good, autonomous diagnosis,” founder Dr. Eugene Chan tells Wired. “rHEALTH technology is highly sensitive, quantitative, and capable of meeting the FDA’s bar for sophistication, while still being geared for customers.”
The company has grants from NASA (who originally commissioned DMI to create the sensor), the National Institute of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It will be a bit before the public gains access to these sensors, but when they do arrive, their effect is sure to be dramatic.