Smartphone accessory tests for HIV, syphilis - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Smartphone accessory tests for HIV, syphilis

(KFVS) -

From the waiting room to almost anywhere, the future of medicine could soon be in the palm of your hand.

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new smartphone accessory that can detect if you have STD like HIV or syphilis.

The device uses a finger prick of blood to perform a point-of-care test in just 15 minutes.

The researchers say it's the first smartphone accessory to replicate all the functions of a laboratory-based blood test.

Doctors in the Heartland say it's just one example of how telemedicine is changing the way doctors work.

"I have patients that will text me a picture of their throat or a funny looking rash that they get and want to know about it," ENT Consultant Chris Jung. "And sometimes I can tell them over the phone 'Oh that really looks like strep."

Jung says in some areas specialty care isn't available to everyone.

"The specialists are concentrated in areas of major medical communities and the people out in the boonies a lot of times didn't have access to this help," Jung said.

However, Jung says telemedicine is changing that.

"It can make care available much quicker than somebody waiting for a couple weeks to get an appointment and then having to travel a 100 miles or more to get the source," Jung said.

Researchers say this smartphone accessory would only set consumers back $34, which is much lower than typical ELISA equipment.

Jung says while in some cases patients will need special doctor expertise to diagnose a problem, however he says for some it can provide a timely diagnosis that could save them a major expense.?

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