A Salt Lake City medical team has invented a medical diagnostic app that allows doctors to receive instant results to blood tests, even in the field.
The smartphone app and attachment, called i-calQ, uses a biosensor to run tests on a small drop of blood. The first test created for the i-calQ app was a thyroid disease management solution. According to the i-calQ website, blood tests for thyroid disease are one of the most commonly preformed tests. The app will shorten the wait time for results to mere minutes.
“So far the doctors who have seen (the app) have absolutely loved it,” said i-calQ CEO Pamela Turbeville.
According to Turbeville, doctors have liked the app because they can start treatments right away. She said the usual delay in test results make doctors play phone tag with their patients. The new app will help patients start getting healthier faster, Turbeville said.
According to the i-calQ website, Joel Ehrenkranz, a member of the development team for the app, came up with the idea while working in Africa. The only type of technology Ehrenkranz could rely on was their phones. Since ebola cannot be diagnosed without lab tests, Ehrenkranz realized a smartphone-based diagnostic tool was the best way to get lab results to the area.
The i-calQ team is getting the app approved through the FDA. Turbeville said the blood test results produced by the app are just as accurate as test results from a lab. She said they have to be close if the app is going to get FDA approved.
While the app is currently designed for health care professionals to use, the next generation will have a test that anyone can use, Turbeville said.
“The app will actually measure how much cortisol is in your saliva, which can indicate how much stress you are under,” Turbeville said.
Cortisol is a hormone found in saliva that is a marker for stress. According to Turbeville, if people know how much stress they are under, they can start to recover faster. This feature should be available next year, Turbeville said.
Barbara Morrell, co-coordinator of the Stress Management and Biofeedback Services at BYU, said cortisol is the hormone that is measured when research is done on how stress affects the body, so it is a very strong indicator of stress. Biofeedback Services trains people to pay attention to what they feel to manage stress. Morrell has never used the i-calQ app but said any indication of stress can be helpful.
“Having any kind of feedback that says, ‘Wow, your body is under a lot of stress,’ could be motivating to a person,” Morrell said.