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Personal Health At Your Own Fingertips

Filipinos can have easy access to their own personal medical record.

By Ronell B. Sicat (Ateneo M.S. ECE Student)

How does owning your own medical records sound to you? And not only that, what if you're given access to your record on-line and by using your mobile phone?

This is just what a group of students from the Ateneo de Manila University wanted to provide people---their very own personal medical record which they can access anytime and anywhere. These students are developing a personal medical database interfaced to the Internet and the GSM network. This means that the database is accessible via the Internet and through the use of mobile phones (via SMS and MMS). And since medical record for each person is centralized, there will be no problem in collecting needed records for diagnosis whenever needed.

The medical records include all the basic health information for patients with special emphasis on electrocardiogram (ECG) and urine anlaysis (UA) data. People can register on-line and get an account to avail of the service. And since the patients own their records, they can choose whom to give access to their records and even request for help from medical practitioners on-line.

Aside from the medical database, the group of students also developed an automated urinalysis test which allows patients to perform their own test using their camera phones. The patient will have to avail of a cheap urine strip and dip it in the urine. The strip is then placed in a platform and a picture is taken using the camera phone. The picture is then sent to the server via MMS. The server automatically scores the image sent and stores the data for future reference. The UA test image score is automatically sent to the patient via text message (SMS) and a warning is sent for abnormal scores. The total cost of one test is around Php 15 only as compared to Php 80 in commercial laboratories. Aside from camera phones, web cameras and digital cameras can also be used to send images to the server via the Internet for the automated urinalysis test.

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Figure 1. Urine Analysis test platform for the web camera and sample image taken.

Initial verification tests of the group revealed up to a 95% maximum accuracy and a 65% minimum. However, further developments can be made with the very simple algorithm used. In addition, further research and tests are being conducted in order to provide an automated calibration system so that any image capturing equipment can be used for automated testing. In the near future, the system will not only normalize images taken but also enhance images for better processing. In addition, the whole database with the automated urinalysis test will be tested in a 1000-patient urban poor community setting. This will further provide data for verification of the code and test of the system's reliability and scalability.

Topic revision: r3 - 03 Sep 2008 - 11:00:42 - BearTiu
 
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