Leeds diabetes patients benefit from innovative at-home urine tests

A simple test developed by a medical tech company is helping thousands of people in Leeds who are living with diabetes to identify whether they have the early signs of chronic kidney disease.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:45 am

The regional innovation arm of the NHS, the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), has been working with a tech company called Healthy.io to progress the roll-out of its smartphone-based device called Minuteful Kidney.

The device enables home-based urine testing, which is critical in picking up any early signs of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a complication of diabetes.

It is hoped that this home-based testing device will increase the traditionally low uptake in previous medical urine tests, known as the urinary albumin test.

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The new smartphone technology by Healthy.io which allows diabetes patients to test their urine at home.
The new smartphone technology by Healthy.io which allows diabetes patients to test their urine at home.

The test measures the albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) and is one of eight ‘care processes’ which have to be completed each year as part of each diabetes patient’s annual diabetes review.

But the low uptake in this original ACR test has meant CKD could be missed until it becomes symptomatic and more serious for people’s health.

So far, 11 practices in Leeds have now implemented Healthy.io’s new smartphone device, with 1,500 agreeing to be sent the test.

Of these, 1,317 have completed it successfully at home so far.

Dr Sab Gogna, of the Fountain Medical Centre in Morley

Dr Sab Gogna is clinical director and GP at Fountain Medical Centre in Morley, one of the practices in Leeds to have signed up to the technology.

He said: “So far it has allowed us to engage with harder to reach patients and overall has really increased uptake of ACR testing, quickly identifying people who are at risk so we can follow up.

“Using the service has meant we can focus on maintaining kidney care even during these difficult times for primary care.

“The need for follow-up is key and does require practices to have a system in place to facilitate this in order to action any abnormal results which enables clinical evaluation and better care for most at-risk patients.”

Neville Young, director of enterprise and innovation at the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN

Neville Young, director of enterprise and innovation at the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, added: “Innovations like the one developed by Healthy.io are critical to improve patient outcomes and also address health inequalities by looking at ways to engage with hard-to-reach communities and ensure they receive the care they need, especially now that people are more concerned about accessing clinical settings.

“We can’t do this work without engaging with equally innovative GPs and others working in the care sector at this incredibly busy time and we thank Sab and the team at Fountain Medical Centre for stepping up to help improve the delivery of care to these patients.

“Over the last year we have worked incredibly hard to adapt our services to ensure that, whatever the challenges, we are uniquely placed to support the needs of our partners.

“Our work with Healthy.io is a perfect example of how working with industry, we have made a significant contribution to the pace and scale at which innovation has been adopted by our health and care systems in response to the pandemic.

“It also highlights the importance of working with companies like this and the NHS to help identify and scale up innovations that can make a real difference to patient care.”

For more information on Yorkshire and Humber AHSN visit www.yhahsn.com.

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