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ADVANCE Perspectives: Healthcare Information Professionals

Smartphone Blood Testing

Published April 6, 2016 2:23 PM by ADVANCE Perspectives

By Tamer Abouras


One of the defining characteristics of life in the 21st century is the degree to which we idiosyncratically track things about ourselves. As I’ve written about previously, some of the most popular apps are those that allow us to meticulously monitor our daily habits.


Whether it’s what we’re eating, how far we’re running, what we’re listening to — and have been for some time — or a chronology of our reading habits, our increasing interest in analytics and the usage of layman’s statistics continues to shape American society. We want to be fully aware of all the passive data we’re generating while going about our normal routines.

SEE ALSO: Data Collection from Mobile Devices

As long as that doesn’t end up driving you crazy, it’s probably a positive thing all in all. And in a lot of ways, it can be fun. We all love making progress and anything that can be measured numerically can demonstrate whether or not we really are moving forward. But as I said at the outset, we all have varying degrees of idiosyncrasy when it comes to what we monitor and how aggressively we seek out that information.


For instance, I consider myself a reasonably healthy person and I keep track of how far I’ve run, what I weigh and things of that nature, but I don’t track my blood pressure, blood sugar or insulin. Perhaps, though, that’s because I largely haven’t been able to do so on my smartphone — until now.


According to gizmag, Massachusetts based Cor “comprises a web and smartphone app (initially for iOS, with an Android version planned), a blood reader and single-use cartridges that are used to take blood samples. The cartridges each have a fine needle that takes a surface-level blood sample when pressed against the arm. The process is said to be both quick and painless, with the cartridges able to be ordered on a subscription basis.”


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Bob Messerschmidt, founder and CEO of Cor said, "The greatest barrier for people to live a healthy life is really information. The idea was: what if we could bring blood chemistry testing directly to the home so that people could use that as a tool to know whether the things that they're doing to maintain a state of health and wellness are really working properly."


Stu Robarts of gizmag continues to explain, saying, “Once a blood sample has been taken, the cartridge is slotted into the reader for analysis. The reader employs vibrational spectroscopy, which uses infrared light to identify chemicals in the blood. Analysis is said to take a matter of minutes, and data extracted by the reader is sent to the cloud and processed using Cor's algorithms. Cor says that all data is encrypted and that it follows best practice and HIPAA guidelines. The interpreted data is then returned to the user via the accompanying app, along with tailored recommendations.”


“The app is designed to explain data in a straightforward manner, with its reports detailing health indicators like cholesterol (HDL, LDL and total), fasting blood glucose, inflammation (fibrinogen), and triglycerides. Tailored recommendations for improving the user's health are also provided, such as changes to diet, supplements, relaxation and exercise. These are based on the user's own experiences, guidance from the firm's "medical advisory board" and data from other users in the Cor community.”


So the long and short of Cor appears to be that it provides yet another way for us to collectively obsess over our own health and make sure we’re living the right way. If Messerschmidt is right, though, and that information really is the solution to myriad societal health problems, then the problems themselves can lead us to another conclusion: when it comes to our wellbeing, ignorance is not bliss.

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    ADVANCE Editorial Staff
    Occupation: Editor
    Setting: ADVANCE for Healthcare Information Professionals
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