Have you always wondered why you had your urine routinely tested when you were admitted to the hospital? It’s just the healthcare workers doing their job and getting a baseline sample for future health assessments.

And what is the reason for this kind of test? Simple!

Your make-up urine can drastically change content, colour, or odour, in reaction to a specific illness. Whether it’s excess protein, blood, or sugar, urine testing analyzes urine content that is not usually there due to particular diseases.

And there are lots of metabolic health information contained in the urine. So, healthcare workers can rely on the test results to analyze and diagnose specific illnesses in your body regularly.

What are urine tests?

A urine test or urinalysis is a simple method useful for diagnosing and monitoring a person’s health status by analyzing an individual’s urine sample. It is a standard testing method in healthcare, and it’s highly useful in assessing kidney and liver functioning. It is also used in common illness like diabetes, as it helps indicates the blood sugar level by analyzing the amount of sugar in the urine.

How to carry out urine tests?

The traditional urine testing equipment includes test strips, tissue, stopwatch, non-sterile gloves, clinical waste bags, and finally, your urine specimen. You can also add a pen and a report book to the list.

  1. After assembling the testing equipment, wash your hands, and apply gloves.
  2. Remove a test strip from the container and immerse the strip’s full length in the urine sample.
  3. Place the test strip on the tissue, prevent the pads from contaminating, and start the timer.
  4. After the specified amount of time has passed, place the test pad at a safe but close distance to the test strip container’s result gauge.
  5. Record the test result in a medical report or journal and report any abnormal development to the doctor.
  6. Finally, dispose of the equipment in the clinical waste bag and sanitize your hands.

You may see several strip results ranging from varying glucose levels, protein, ketones, blood, white blood cells, specific gravity, bilirubin, and urobilinogen to pH.

But you should know that medications may also affect the test results as they can be excreted as waste products in the urine. For instance, if you’re taking antibiotics, your urine may smell odd or show an unusual colour.

Smart urine testing innovations

Smart toilets

Like health diagnosis using smartphones, a smart urinalysis will enable continuous and unlimited access to up-to-date data and real-time diagnosis during pee time. With advances in smart toilets, urinalysis can be done in real-time, and health status can be immediately tracked and reported.

Smart toilets will be able to sample urine when you use the toilet and measure samples with a mass spectrometer. The data will then transmit to the patient’s smartphone, connected to the server where doctors could monitor their health status. Instead of flushing the millions of useful heath data down the toilet, you’ll be able to measure and analyze the data to improve your health.

Smart toilet installations in homes will be able to sample urine and detect medications and food consumables’ metabolism. And if such urinalysis is a large scale, there is the possibility of meta-scale urine testing and determine primary population health data.

Smartphones and smart test-strips

Using smart AI technology and high-quality smartphone imaging devices, you can create your urine test results and digital footprint. Application software can use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to carry out medical tests and store data in the cloud.

For instance, Healthy.io is a smartphone app you can use to perform urine tests and diagnose chronic kidney disease right in the comfort of your home. The app comes with a Dip.io kit for urine sample collection that usually analyzed using imaging technology through your smartphone camera.

These urine testing innovations will make the urine collection process and analysis simple, affordable, frequent, and accurate.

How smart urine testing is revolutionizing healthcare

Diagnosis and testing go beyond the age and time of using X-rays for broken bones or taking incessant blood samples. Today, smart healthcare services are becoming need of the world. And smart healthcare is all about being able to intercept diseases and illness early and prevent or manage them. These innovations will mean the end of the systemic era of inaccurate and delayed diagnosis.

So, when people say ‘smart’ in the healthcare context, they mean a world where we could continuously monitor and track our health around the clock with portable devices. Or we could quickly assess and forecast potential illness with our everyday devices such as wristwatches, smartphones, or even toilets.

Today, wearable devices such as smartwatches can help you monitor and diagnose specific health conditions. We also have implantable devices such as defibrillators that can monitor internal conditions such as heart functioning. Also, lab engineers are currently working on developing smart bras using infrared light and sound to detect minuscule breast tumours to be removed early on.

Patients can easily carry out urine testing on a step-by-step basis. It automatically send test results to their electronic medical database or server for clinical follow-up. With smart urine testing, patients can conduct self-diagnosis within the comfort of their homes, detect illness, and seek urgent care. Smart urine testing can improve positive health outcomes through early and ongoing diagnosis. Besides, it reduces the cost of treatment common with late-stage illness.

Whether through smart toilets, smart test strips, and even smartphones, smart urinalysis is changing the future of healthcare.

And it has come to stay!

PS: But these smart innovations are not immune from error, from generating false negatives and false positives. Smart urinalysis does not entirely substitute frequent medical check-ups and lab tests.

By Sanjeev

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