5 billion people have smartphones but no health care. But what if you could snap a photo and get a diagnosis?
Here are some alarming statistics: Cervical cancer every year kills nearly 300,000 people, 85% of whom live in developing countries. Despite these large numbers, cervical cancer is easily preventable with the help of a colposcope, a device that helps doctors get a magnified view of a woman’s cervix. The only problem? Women in low-income parts of the world have limited access to health clinics that carry this tool.
Luckily, one start-up is working to change all that. The Israel-based company, MobileODT, has invented a device that works much like a traditional colposcope, only it’s much smaller and attaches to a physician’s smartphone. Using this tool, it takes doctors just a few minutes to take a photo of a patient’s cervix and then observe the image more closely for visible deformities. The device even has settings to adjust lighting, reduce glare, and magnify an image up to 16 times.
While a standard colposcope can cost more than $10,000, medical professionals can snag MobileODT’s iPhone-compatible tool for a cool $1,800. The startup’s CEO, Ariel Beery, told Huffington Post that while billions of people are “buying phones and buying minutes for their phones for banking, commerce, and learning, the one thing they can’t do is use them for the most important thing in life, which is saving their life and the lives of loved ones.”
Since the company released the devices in 2014, doctors have used them to screen more than 16,000 women in 26 countries around the world. Pending the FDA’s approval, the device could be useful in American communities as well. Because the device gives doctors instant results from an image instead of waiting weeks for pap smear results, patients can get treatment for problems sooner.