Low-cost Anemia Screener Connects to Health Workers’ Cell Phones

Concept: To display test results, the HemoGlobe anemia screening device is slipped onto a patient’s finger and connected with a health worker’s cell phone. [Credit: JHU]
It’s estimated that 600,000 newborns and 100,000 mothers in developing countries die of anemia each year. Biomedical engineering undergraduates at Johns Hopkins have developed a low-cost screening device that works with health workers’ cell phones to help combat this devastating disease.

“This device has the potential to be a game-changer. It will equip millions of health care workers across the globe to quickly and safely detect and report this debilitating condition in pregnant women and newborns. The team members realized that every community health worker already carries a powerful computer in their pocket — their cell phone. So we didn’t have to build a computer for our screening device, and we didn’t have to build a display.”

Soumyadipta Acharya, assistant research professor, Johns Hopkins’ Department of Biomedical Engineering

The noninvasive, “prick-free” device, which goes by the name HemoGlobe, is able to detect and report anemia at the community level. To measure blood hemoglobin levels, the HemoGlobe sensor shines various wavelengths of light through the skin on a patient’s fingertip. The color-coded test results are then displayed on a cell phone’s screen.

The results are also used to create a real-time map that shows the prevalence of anemia, which helps health workers follow-up and distribute additional resources.

How is technology changing your life for the better?

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/jhu-uic072412.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

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