Saving Home Urine Test Results just seems like a good idea. Here at PURI we get asked by friends and acquaintances why we have invested so much time into such a simple idea. Even though saving home urine test reults is a simple idea we had not seen a handy mobile application which addressed the problem.
In this article we cover why we have created PURI and why we think you will benefit from using it.
1. Home Urine Testing is Useful
The first reason we created PURI is that thanks to the humble Urine Test Strip, Urinalysis is a widely used diagnostic. Urinalysis can be done at home and in a clinical setting. By using a Urine Dipstick we can gain insight into the health of different parts of the body and an indication of how advanced certain diseases are.
Here are two simple examples about what Home Urine Testing can tell us:
1) Protein should not appear in Urine. If Protein does appear in Urine this may indicate problems with the filter in the Kidney. You see, a protein molecule is too large to pass through a healthy and properly functioning kidney. If Protein does appear in your Urine it may indicate Kidney damage. Conducting a Home Urine Test can identify the presence and approximate concentration of Protein in your Urine. If Protein is found via a home urine test, you can then consult a doctor to gain a professional diagnosis of the cause.
2) The presence of blood cells in your Urine is considered serious and may indicate problems in the urinary tract. Causes of blood in urine could be anything from kidney stones to cancer. Identifying blood in your urine early through regular Urine testing may lead to an early diagnosis of bigger issues.
It is the simplicity of a home urine test plus the usefulness of the results that makes Urinalysis one of the most performed diagnostics.
2. Most home tests end up in the bin
When doing our research for PURI we found many people do not save their home urine test results. That is, they are throwing away an important part of their health record.
We found this odd especially given the value in keeping home urine test results, especially in the context of an increasing number of apps designed to save medical data.
As a comparison lets look at Blood Glucose. If you search on the internet, ask your local pharmacist, or as we did recently, visit a medical device conference, you will find many Blood Glucose monitors available. Allot of these devices send data directly to a smart phone and instantly capture and save the user’s results. The storing of data makes these devices very valuable. With instant, present time results, patients can take action on the immediate measurement, while saved data can be used for identifying trends and effectiveness of treatment over a longer period.
While blood measurements are largely digitized, urine measurements seem to have remained somewhat in the analog age. The majority of home urine test results are read manually by comparing the strip to the manufacturer’s colored grid on their packaging. We have seen an increase in start ups using mobile apps with color recognition to automatically read strips and determine results, but so far none of these are universally available, they are expensive, and they limit the patient to using only the proprietary strip with the manufacturer’s app.
The other issue with these color recognition apps seems to be that some require the strip to be placed on a color comparison grid which, to us at least, does not seem to speed up the process nor the hygiene of the testing. We will see where these products end up, as they are the future, but as of today there is no great solution for digitizing urine test results at home.
So until technology catches up to make the storing of home urine test results automatic, it seems that allot of tests will be read, understood and then thrown away, unless that is… people start using PURI!
3. Saving results must be made easy
In researching PURI we think that the lack of an easy way to capture home urine test data is the key factor why home urine test data is not saved.
Today to save your results there is always a pen and paper or an excel spreadsheet that will do the job. You can also use a universal health app which captures many different types of health data. The issue with these methods is they have not been designed for fast, easy and intuitive input which sometimes makes the effort of entering data more trouble than it is worth.
We have tried to fix this problem by making it easy to enter results into PURI. Our goal is to allow users to store results from any urine test strip and to be able to enter data in the most simple and fastest manner possible. We are working to achieve this goal by building an extensive database of strips. Once complete, the library of test strips will mean that patients all over the world can continue to use the strips they know, and even change to different strips with out losing their existing data.
PURI’s entry interface replicates the color matrix on the Urinalysis strips packaging. This color matrix in PURI is not be used to identify the reagent color on the test strip (you must always follow your manufacturer’s instructions), but it is used to easily identify and input your results. With this simple interface storing Urine Test is fast and easy with PURI.
4. Accurate Results at Home
There are a few factors to think about to achieve accurate home test results. Prior to the home urine test there you must not consume anything that may effect the results (e.g. orange juice), genitals must be clean, the “catch” of the urine must be done correctly, the catch container must be uncontaminated and the time from the “dip” to the measure must be correct. The first four items are well known and there is plenty of good advice on line on how to do a Home Urine Test.
Where PURI makes it easy to gain accurate results is with PURI’s timer functionality. The measurement readings must be taken at the correct time after dipping the Test Strip into the Urine sample. This is important as reading too early, or too late may deliver a false result.
At PURI we wanted to help improve accuracy by creating a built in timer. PURI allows you to “Dip and Click”, that is simultaneously dip your Test Strip in your Urine Sample and click the start timer button in PURI on your smart phone. You can see our full instructions on how to use PURI on our website.
When the timer is used the test input cells are locked until the time recommended by the manufacturer has elapsed. Once the correct reaction time has passed the row for the assay that can be measured will unlock. For example, if Protein needs a reaction time of 60 seconds then the Protein row is locked for 60 seconds. Once it is unlocked you can take your measurement and then input the result into PURI.
This simplifies input as it frees up your hands, the timer is built into the test template meaning you don’t need an extra stop watch, and there is no risk that you will enter the data too early which should all lead to better results.
5. More Home Urine Test Data is a good thing.
Aside from the Urine Test Strip Results, you can gain insight into your health by viewing the physical properties of the Urine Sample. Is the color light or very dark? Is it clear or cloudy? Is there foam in the sample? At home it is not just strip data that is being thrown away, but also the important color and physical appearance of the urine sample. When the urine sample is flushed down the toilet this is health data that is being lost.
PURI allows users to capture up to two images for each test. The first image should be of the test strip, and the second image should be of the urine sample. In this way when you go back and review your results if you want to double check what was happening that day you have a photographic record. And this leads us onto the next topic of why we built PURI… the ability to Share Results
6. Sharing Results
We hope by now you have downloaded and started using PURI. If you have, this means you will have some test data and some photos saved. So now imagine you have a result that you are not happy with such as positive Leukocyte and Nitrites in your Urine which may indicate the onset of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). By having this data saved in PURI it gives you further options about what you can do.
PURI has the option to share results two ways 1) within PURI or 2) via email.
So you suspect you have a UTI but you want to be sure. With PURI you can email your test results to your Doctor at the same time you ask for an appointment. Before you arrive in the surgery, the doctor can review your results and be prepared for an appointment.
And another example, you have a child with Diabetes and they are old enough to do their own Ketone tests, but as a parent you want to make sure they are actually being done by your child and you want to have access to their results to make sure everything is OK. In PURI you have the ability to view other user’s results (once they have given you permission) and also the option to enter results on their behalf (again after permission is received).
The second option of entering results on behalf of another person can be very helpful for a home nurse, a parent or someone who has taken on a carer role for an elderly parent.
With the digitising of Urinalysis results the benefits of the internet age become instantly available.
7. Tracking Results
And finally we have tracking. Building up a good data set can help identify trends in results which is useful for chronic conditions. For periodic conditions such as UTI, having urine results stored can help keep a track of the how often the infections are occurring.
We built into PURI two views of results. The first is one that simply highlights when a positive result occurred. The second view is trend data.
PURI also has the ability to filter data so you can select which results you want to see, e.g. you may want to look exclusively at the Protein in Urine results.
With the combination of two different data views and the ability to filter and focus on your test results you gain great visibility into your health data.
We hope you like it
This is the first version of PURI and we have much more planned. We have started with addressing a need that patients who regularly test their Urine at home might have. We hope you find PURI useful and we are always happy to hear from you.