More Do-It-Yourself Medical Tests

Health care at home: A prototype of QuickCheck Health’s home test reveals an encrypted code that the user enters into a website to learn the results

Over the last few years, a small slice of medicine has moved out of the doctor’s office and into clinics at CVS, Walmart, or other retail outlets. QuickCheck Health, a startup based in Excelsior, Minnesota, aims to push this trend further by bringing more diagnostic testing to the home. The company is developing tests for urinary tract infections, strep throat, and other ailments that will be sold at drugstores for consumers to use at home.

While consumer diagnostic tests are already in use for pregnancy, ovulation, fertility, HIV, and other conditions, treatment or follow-up care requires a visit to the doctor. At-home tests for other conditions, such as urinary tract infections, are available, but most doctors are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics or other medication without validating the results. QuickCheck Health plans to change that by requiring patients to log on to a website or call to learn the results of the test. If the test is positive, the user will be directed to an online health-care provider, who can prescribe treatment.

“The consumer doesn’t know what they have until they check in online or via phone, and the remote provider has confidence that this was a positive test,” says QuickCheck CEO Tom Henke. “That confirmation makes us different, and valuable to consumers and physicians.”

The tests employ existing chemical assays to detect infections or other issues using urine samples or a throat swab. The company has developed proprietary hardware to encode the results, as well as software for the website and database that patients and physicians will access. It plans to partner with networks of health-care providers across the country that would check the results via QuickCheck’s interface and provide prescriptions. The company has developed a prototype of its urinary tract infection test and is planning trials to get consumer feedback on the design. It aims to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this year.

Read the second half of the article here Technology Review.

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