Cardiovascular Business reported on a new accessory that uses a smartphone camera to measure cholesterol levels. The smartphone system is in development and uses analytical software (this would be downloaded as an app) and a smartCARD accessory that fits over a mobile phone camera. From here, a user would place a drop of blood on a commercially available test strip (similar to glucose monitoring), which fits into a smartCARD reader. The camera phone accessory measures the color change on the strip which the app then processes to display a cholesterol value on the phone’s screen.
According to Cardiovascular Business, the Cornell team found that it takes 60 seconds for the blood sample to change colors, with a 1.8 percent accuracy rate. They tested it on various smartphone platforms and found that their system had a maximum error rate of 5.8 percent, around the same rate as at-home testing kits.
So far there is one drawback: the system in question can’t discern good and bad cholesterols; only a total reading is given. However, tools like these should be introduced into the direct care practice when they hit the market. How cool is it to empower your own patients to be able to do their own cholesterol tests? If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or manage your blood sugars as a diabetic, first off, you know it’s challenging. It takes will and discipline. But tools like these are great because they enable people to track their own progress. People need that connection or lifestyle changes can wind up feeling austere. Although, we don’t have a problem if our patients want to come in every few weeks to get an A1C or cholesterol reading. We’re more than happy to oblige.