A smartphone screening test that can detect chronic kidney disease at an early stage has been made available to patients across Yorkshire.
The technology, which has been rolled out to patients in GP practices that are part of the Modality Partnership which has surgeries in Hull and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, is designed to encourage more people to have a urine test, or albumin creatinine ratio (ACR), to uncover signs of kidney disease.
Annual ACR testing rates are low, with over 70% of hypertensive people, 50% of type 1 diabetics and 35% of type 2 diabetics failing to have tests according NHS Digital.
Seven out of 10 people who had gone 18 months without taking their yearly urine test, in which urine samples are sent to a laboratory, took the home-based smartphone test. It found that one in 10 had signs of kidney damage.
The test, created by Healthy.io, uses a smartphone app to scan and analyse a test strip which can be carried out by the patient in the privacy of their own home.
An analysis by York Health Economics Consortium, which is operated by the University of York, found the test would save the NHS nearly £700,000, prevent 33,723 cases of chronic kidney disease, 1,361 deaths and help 11,376 people avoid end-stage renal disease which would require regular dialysis or a kidney transplant if used across England.
“Perhaps it’s because there is so much focus on controlling blood sugar levels but many patients don’t seem to realise how important ACR tests are,” said Dr Gill Jenkins.
“It can be a struggle to get patients tested. We ask them to bring a sample but if they forget, they may not be able to produce one when they are at the surgery.
“There is a perception among patients, and even some medical staff, that blood trumps urine, and if you have had a blood test you don’t need a urine test. But that is not the case.”
Picture: damircudic (iStock)