The Nearest Lab is Your Smartphone

Stephen Chen

Problem Tech Solves

Consumer adoption of virtual care has advanced by 10 years over the course of the pandemic. Over 60% of patients have used telehealth as of March 2021, compared to 19% just one year earlier. The next frontier in care delivery has arrived, however a critical gap has yet to be bridged. Virtual care still relies on in-person lab testing. 70% of all medical decisions depend on lab tests. Patients and healthcare organizations need faster, more accessible lab testing. To fill this vital need within virtual care, Scanwell Health has turned the smartphone into a clinical lab. Scanwell’s approach not only makes lab testing more accessible, but lowers costs as well. Real-time lab results paired with clinical symptoms makes virtual visits more effective. Patients get the treatment they need as soon as they need it, and more timely interventions lower the cost of care. Remote screening and monitoring of patients with chronic conditions provides a lower-cost alternative to routine in-person visits, with evidence showing telehealth solutions for chronic populations improving total cost of care by 2 to 3%.

Tech Brief

Scanwell Health pairs proven diagnostics with patented computer vision technology to turn the smartphone into a clinical lab. The Scanwell Health mobile application is designed to be used with an at-home test kit containing the components necessary for a person to collect a sample and self-test. Here’s how it works: A person receives a Scanwell Test Kit and connects it to the app. They collect their sample, following step-by-step video instructions provided in-app. They apply their sample to the test stick, and wait a few minutes for the sample to process. This takes 15 minutes or less. The person then scans their test using the app. The app immediately returns a clinically-accurate result, which can then be shared to a healthcare provider. When the test is scanned, the Scanwell app uses the smartphone’s camera and patented computer vision technology to analyze the test, just like a clinical analyzer in a lab would. We’ve leveraged this technology to develop tests for urinary tract infection (UTI), COVID-19 antigen, COVID-19 antibody, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and malaria. This approach allows for a test result turnaround time in minutes, rather than days. Patients can test from the convenience, comfort, and safety of their homes, and get results with the same clinical-accuracy as in-person options. Clinicians can diagnose quickly and more accurately, and patients receive treatment as soon as they need it.

Tech Differentiators

Most at-home tests currently on the market are at-home sample collection. The patient collects their sample and mails it back to a lab for processing, and results are returned within several days. With Scanwell’s approach, results are shared to the patient and the provider within minutes of the test being completed. Valuable diagnostic insights delivered in real-time help clinicians diagnose more accurately and effectively, and patients can start treatment sooner rather than later. In the case of UTIs, it’s estimated that better access to primary care treatment for UTIs could save $4B in healthcare spending. There’s also evidence showing telehealth solutions for chronic populations to improve total cost of care by 2 to 3%. With remote diagnostics like Scanwell’s chronic kidney disease test, patients can be screened more frequently, leading to timely interventions and avoiding hospitalizations. And in the case of infectious diseases like COVID-19, waiting for test results hinders our ability to slow the spread and effectively control outbreaks. At-home COVID-19 tests like the one we’ve developed with BD will play a significant role in reopening the economy, schools, and travel. Though a small handful of other players exist in the space of at-home lab testing, few offer an over-the-counter solution that allows patients to test themselves comfortably and with confidence, and even fewer provide immediate, clinically-accurate test results.


Scanwell’s at-home chronic kidney disease (CKD) test is being used in an ongoing study of patients with CKD sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and led by researchers at Kaiser Permanente, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, and other institutions. Scanwell’s at-home test makes monitoring kidney health more accessible as patients are able to test themselves at a much lower cost. “Scanwell’s mobile app allows us to do a more systematic assessment at home on a regular basis…that we would not be able to do readily without a lot of man or woman power,” said Alan S. Go, MD, Principal Investigator for the study at Kaiser Permanente. Scanwell has also partnered with The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a global nonprofit and partner of the World Health Organization, to develop a smartphone-read test for malaria. The app is being used by healthcare workers in Cambodia, Rwanda, Indonesia and Sudan, and helps them identify the specific strain of malaria so the most appropriate treatment can be prescribed. “Having the right diagnosis is necessary to ensure there is no delay [in getting the right treatment],” said Wallace White, Product Development Consultant at FIND. In clinical studies conducted in Cambodia by the National Ministry of Health (NMH) and by FIND partners in Rwanda, Indonesia and Sudan, Scanwell’s technology was nearly 99 percent accurate in its interpretation of malaria RDTs. The NMH plans to integrate Scanwell’s technology into its existing digital health tool and begin using it in the field.

Why Us

Scanwell Health empowers healthcare organizations and their patients with faster, more accessible lab testing. By pairing proven diagnostics with patented computer vision technology, Scanwell puts testing into the hands of people, enabling quick detection of acute illnesses and convenient monitoring of chronic diseases.

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