Just coming to this Editor’s attention — and wondering why it hasn’t received more — is the Swasthya Slate
, a diagnostic tablet pre-loaded with 33 diagnostic tests, procedural apps and diagnostic devices for health workers who have basic medical training. It was developed by an Indian startup headed by a former member of Arizona State University’s department of biomedical informatics, Kanav Kahol. He returned home to New Delhi three years ago frustrated in his desire to develop an inexpensive, simplified diagnostic tablet for use in remote areas, using the same sensors that far more complex devices used. The ruggedized tablet, in addition to the pre-loaded tests and artificial intelligence-based apps, incorporates a four-lead ECG, medical thermometer, water-quality meter, heart-rate monitor, 12-lead ECG and sensors for blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, blood haemoglobin, urine protein and glucose.
According to the article by Vivek Wadhwa, 4,250 Slates were successfully tested in the states of Jammu and Kashmir starting last March. It drastically increased the correct diagnosis (and treatment) of preeclampsia, which was present in 12 percent of third-trimester women, and eliminated fatalities (the condition is 15 percent of Indian maternal mortality.) Since its cost in production will be only a few hundred dollars at most, but in Mr Wadhwa’s opinion doubtful to be submitted to the FDA’s hoops, it is likely only to be demonstrated in the US, though it is being tested in the UK and Norway. But for developing countries, it’s a tricorder they need and very well may get. Washington Post
Dr Kahol was also recently appointed senior scientific and technical advisor to Trinity College, Cambridge University’s Malaysia Education Trust.