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Israeli app uses smartphone camera to make medical diagnoses

Lawrence Lewitinn
Lawrence Lewitinn

An Israeli startup is trying to turn your smartphone into a medical device.

Health.io said it developed an app that uses image-recognition technology to help doctors diagnose patients. The images, however, can be taken straight from a smartphone. The company said its app is in the process of being examined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“What we have established in Israel is the capacity to read color-based diagnostics in a very high level of accuracy,” Healthy.io founder and CEO Jonathan Adiri told Yahoo Finance Editor In Chief Andy Serwer.

The Healthy.io app is able to read images of test strips photographed by the user, regardless of the smartphone operating system or the lighting condition the image was taken under.

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“Medical diagnostics are done via colors,” Adiri explained. “You have different dipsticks for urine and for pH and others. ... You have different skin care applications that are actually based on color.”

Adiri, who was the first chief technology officer for former Israeli President Shimon Peres, is in Davos, Switzerland, where he is speaking to the World Economic Forum about opening up healthcare through technology.

“The preventive capability of those basic diagnostics being done at home and providing access is pretty phenomenal in the sense that it can break some of the more difficult, intractable parts of healthcare costs,” he said.

While he waits for FDA approval in the United States, Adiri is optimistic another major country will adopt Healthy.io’s app.

“The macro environment in China is really conducive for healthcare apps of our kind,” he said. “We're collaborating with quite a number of companies in that domain. So we see this digital healthcare thing really taking off also there."

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