We live in an interconnected world where instant communication is the norm and digital technology blends seamlessly into our daily lives.
According to the United Nations’ ICT agency, the ITU, 4.1 billion people now use the Internet – that’s 53.6 percent of the global population. What’s more, 93 per cent of the global population now lives within reach of a 3G (or higher) network.
This means that for most people connectivity is no longer a buzzword, it is a basic expectation. End users expect convenient and flawless experiences with the products and services they interact with.
People’s demands are evolving
As digital technology becomes smarter, it is also becoming less visible and intrusive. Devices that connect and pair wirelessly are becoming commonplace and seamless integration is becoming the key driver for success.
The Internet of Things (IoT) brings connectivity to about every physical object around us. From connected cars, fridges and cities, the IoT creates opportunities in almost all market verticals.
Medical devices are no different. There’s a growing number of emerging technology companies and some more established ones already supplying the medical device sector with connectivity and data services.
Soon, 5G infrastructure will transform the game again, allowing consumers to deliver and receive data anywhere in near real-time and delivering hugely increased computing speeds.
This means companies that can provide connectivity through devices and platforms in a way that is simple, intuitive and accessible now have the ability to redefine the digital experience. This is what Bond Digital Health is doing for rapid diagnostics.
How does this relate to rapid lateral flow diagnostics?
To be intelligent, lateral flow tests need to communicate, and to communicate they need to be connected. Rather than relying on the naked eye, some tests come with a reader to more accurately interpret test results – we’ve covered this topic in previous blogs. Most readers now come with data transfer capabilities, which means they can talk to mobile devices via some sort of connection (WiFi, Bluetooth or over a mobile network).
A simple lateral flow test. Connectivity could transform these into powerful data-gathering end-to-end systems.
This reveals boundless possibilities. It means test results & epidemiological data can be collected and stored on a cloud, and as it aggregates, it can be used for a variety of game-changing things. Straight away you have transformed a simple test into a very powerful data-gathering system with visual analytics on the other end.
Whether a reader is present or not, there’s a way test results can be captured and reported by the end user along with additional data. Data is changing everything and now it’s enabling this new world of connected diagnostics. When fully deployed, these new-world diagnostics are powerful enough to inform new disease prevention strategies, personalised treatment and infection control. On an organisational level, they can have more commercial value than the revenue from the tests themselves.
What can a connected test do?
Using the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as an example, it’s clear to see that the advantages of digitally connected lateral flow tests are numerous:
· Instant results: Live, geo-mapped test results can be instantly uploaded to a secure cloud database, removing manual data entry mistakes.
· Enhanced data: Simultaneous capture of critical epidemiological data such as age, gender, BMI, blood group, underlying health conditions and GPS location can help to better understand the nature of the virus.
· Shareable data: Live, geo-mapped results enable public health services globally to see the effects of the virus in real time and more efficiently deploy resources such as healthcare staff, diagnostic tests, medicines and vaccines.
· Traceability: Authorities can test, track and trace the spread the virus and alert users of possible infection risks. Patient contact details (such as mobile phone number or e-mail) can be simultaneously record in a GDPR compliant way.
Connected, intelligent diagnostics offer promising benefits across a range of sectors, from human & animal diagnostics to food security. Together with our partners in the lateral flow industry, we’re proud to be championing data and to be driving the new-world diagnostics.
If you are developing a lateral flow diagnostic test and want to know more about connecting it to the cloud, get in touch and ask how our technology can transform your product. We’re currently prioritising coronavirus antibody and antigen tests.