TLV-based start-up revolutionizes the irksome process of urine testing

Everything about this company is extraordinary.

By
April 12, 2019 03:21
Dip UTI

Dip UTI. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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I will tell you right now, everything about this company Healthy.io is extraordinary. Yonatan Adiri, who has become somewhat of a legend in the innovation community, founded Healthy.io in 2013 when his mother’s life was saved by a camera smartphone.

In Yonatan’s words, “I got a call from my Dad in China saying my Mum was concussed, having fallen and broken some ribs in an obscure city. Within 24 hours she had regained consciousness and the doctors were suggesting she should fly to Hong Kong for treatment. But my Dad was worried because she still couldn’t move. She had already had a CT scan, so before they did anything, I asked him to take a picture of the scan on his mobile phone and send it to me so I could get a second opinion from an Israeli trauma specialist I had on speed dial. The specialist immediately called me back to say there was fluid in her lungs, and warned that the pressure changes of the proposed flight could be lethal. That mobile phone image saved my Mum’s life.” The experience prompted him to explore how smartphones could be used to improve diagnostics and Healthy.io was born.”

Before we get into the technology and just how remarkable this company is, I think we can all agree that urine tests – the process of being handed a cup by your doctor, heading into the restroom, filling that cup, walking across the office and placing it on the table – well, that process is slightly awkward and quite frankly, laughably outdated. We have technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence, not to mention cameras in our pockets that are more powerful than those used by Hollywood producers just a few years ago.

Enter Healthy.io.

Healthy.io has created a new category, smartphone-powered urinalysis that is bringing urine testing from the lab to the home without compromising on its accuracy or quality. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, it is done by turning the smartphone camera into a regulatory approved (US FDA cleared, and CE-marked for products sold within the European Economic Area), clinical-grade scanner with the latest technology of computer vision and machine learning. The result is that Healthy.io’s technology enables different types of urinalysis to be conducted at home rather than in the lab or the doctor’s office

• Chronic kidney disease (CKD) screening

One in three American adults is at risk to develop CKD. All people suffering from hypertension or diabetes should conduct annual screening for CKD, but only 10% of hypertensives and 40% of diabetics actually get tested. Medicare spends a staggering $114 billion each year on treatment for those suffering from kidney failure. Healthy.io has developed an end-to-end service aimed at increasing adherence to annual screenings. Patients get the kit, test at home, scan the dipstick with their phone, and their results are automatically integrated into their existing medical records.

Healthy.io’s kidney testing service has been assessed by Geisinger Health in conjunction with the US National Kidney Foundation as achieving a 71% adherence rate. This improvement has the potential to help millions of at-risk patients, as demonstrated in the UK, where the service rolled out with practices within the National Health Service. Some 10% of patients who adhered to the test tested positive for elevated levels of protein, indicating a previously unknown kidney disease. Identifying unknown kidney disease in patients creates an opportunity to reduce the elevated risk of complications, with significant cost-savings potential.

• Dip UTI, allowing women to test and treat for a UTI without having to see the doctor

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infections. One in two women will experience at least one UTI by the age of 35. While uncomplicated UTIs are easy to treat, they are the most common cause for healthcare visits in the US. Healthy.io’s Dip UTI kit has the potential to shift UTI management from point of care (doctor’s office, emergency clinic, etc.) to home. The kit and connected mobile app allow women with suspected UTIs to easily test at home, scan the dipstick and receive clinical grade results in minutes.

The results can then be reviewed by a healthcare professional who can provide a prescription when needed. This service is already being piloted in by Boots, the biggest health and beauty retailer in the UK, where the kit is sold in selected pharmacies in which specially trained pharmacist are allowed to administer antibiotics if the results are indicative of a UTI (see diputi.com for more details)

• Prenatal urinalysis, allowing pregnant women to conduct routine tests from home

Pregnant women require routine urine testing throughout their pregnancy, meaning they have to make frequent trips to the clinic to get their urine tested and see the nurse. Women with at-risk pregnancies require even more frequent monitoring and visits that can be quite time-consuming. Healthy.io’s Dip.io kit allows pregnant women to test themselves at home, scan the dipstick and receive results in minutes.


The results are automatically shared with their nurse, midwife or physician to review remotely or during their visit. For at-risk pregnancies, home-testing in-between appointments can assist in early detection of complications and reduce the chance of harm to both the mother and baby. If the results are abnormal, the clinician is alerted to provide the appropriate follow-up care. This service is already available through a number of Israeli HMOs.

In the UK, Healthy.io’s technology has been adopted by the NHS Innovation Accelerator Scheme, which fast tracks evidence-based technologies that have the potential to deliver major improvements in patient care.

I told you, everything about this company is extraordinary.

Healthy.io has 50 employees, all of whom are shareholders. The company has already raised $15 million from Quantum Pacific Ventures. In February 2019, Healthy.io raised a further $18m. in funding led by Aleph, with significant contributions from Samsung NEXT and private investors.

Its headquarters are in Tel Aviv, with other offices in the UK and US.

And if all that wasn’t enough, a little information about Yonatan himself. He is 36 years old, the youngest of four brothers from Tel Aviv, and in 2018, he was recognized as one of the most influential people in healthcare by Time magazine.

Yonatan previously served as chief technology officer to the late Shimon Peres. He was the first person to be appointed to such a position. During his time in government service, he negotiated global collaborations in the water, space, agricultural and biomedical fields, helping to enhance Israel’s technology exports by $3.3 billion.

Yonatan started his studies at Israel’s Open University at the age of 14, and graduated at 18 with a BA in political science and international relations. He then went on to get a master’s in political science and law at Tel Aviv University and graduated magna cum laude in 2006.

In 2009, he was president of the inaugural class at the NASA-based Singularity University, the Silicon Valley think tank that offers educational programs focused on scientific progress and exponential technology.

In 2012, his work won recognition from the World Economic Forum of Davos, and he was named a Young Global Leader. 

So yes, extraordinary indeed, but if anyone can turn our smartphone cameras into life-saving devices, Yonatan can!

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