Why diagnostics, digital tech and data go hand in hand

At Bond Digital Health we believe the future of lateral flow is digital and we see it as our mission to help the sector fully realise the huge potential of this technology.

Last month we attended the Advanced Lateral Flow Course (ALFC) 2018 in San Diego, California, where we set out to do just that. The event was attended by leading businesses in the lateral flow rapid testing market as well as individuals wanting to learn more about the technology.

The event gave us the opportunity to demonstrate how digital technology can play a major role in ensuring the effective delivery of point of care (POC) testing.

Bond’s innovative app and cloud software solutions support POC assay developers and lateral flow reader manufactures by providing a digital platform for test data to be collected, analysed and displayed.

Our enabling digital technology will act as a catalyst for the evolution of next generation of lateral flow diagnostics by transformingqualitative “Yes” or “No” tests to quantitative assays with accessible, shareable data.

Prior to ALFC we entered Bond into the first ever Rapid Testing Innovation Award, which would be presented at the event in San Diego. Although we weren’t shortlisted, the competition organisers were impressed by our technology and invited us to take part in a panel discussion looking at the evolution of self-testing and the growing role of mobile devices in diagnostics.

Several people who spoke to us during the event stated that they were in the lateral flow business, not the data business, so I used my spot on the panel to explain why they are actually in both.

I told them we strongly believe in the maxim that “data is the new oil”. Back in 2014, Wired magazine said: “Data in the 21st century us like oil in the 18th century; an immensely, untapped valuable asset. Like oil, for those who see data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it there will be huge rewards.”

I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry so I know what big pharma companies will pay for data. Soon, test developers might find the data they collect may ultimately be more useful and economically valuable than the revenue generated from assay development and commercialisation.

Even now, many of our clients start off in the position of needing to collect data for evaluation or accreditation purposes, but soon realise they have collected large amounts of data and can see patterns emerging that can influence future product development.

If our clients are applying for grants, we now offer to help them with the application when it comes to data collection and management, as we have drafted a whole section on this. A few years ago companies wouldn’t have thought of that – they would have just developed tests.

We advise our clients to make sure they collect the data up front, even if they don’t think they will need it, because they can’t retrospectively go back and get it.

Ultimately, I think the lateral flow sector understands the advantages of adopting digital technology and has a growing appreciation of the value of data. What it needs are seamless solutions that integrate lateral flow tests with the latest reader technologies and provide secure, wireless connectivity to a device to collect, analyse and display results instantly. And that’s where Bond Digital Health comes in.

  • If you would like to learn more about how Bond Digital Health’s app and cloud software services can enhance your lateral flow test, drop me a line.Phil Groom is commercial director of Bond Digital Health