Kidney disease takes a terrible toll on human life. According to the CDC’s 2017 Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Adults, 5.1 million people representing 2.1% of adults have diagnosed kidney disease. Kidney disease is the ninth most common cause of death, accounting for 15.5 deaths per 100,000 population. We’ve written about new technologies developed to replace or substitute for diseased kidneys, including the University of Michigan’s kidney on a chip, work on an implantable kidney replacement at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the WAK, a wearable artificial kidney. Each of those developments represents potential solutions for people whose kidneys have failed.

Tel Aviv-based recently received additional funding to scale up its technology that can head off kidney disease and the life-threatening complications that occur too often.’s FDA-cleared “medical selfie” smartphone urinalysis home-kit tests for protein. People at risk for kidney disease, specifically those with hypertension and diabetes, should have their urine tested annually according to current guidelines, but only 6% of people with hypertension and 39% with diabetes get tested.’s medical selfie works as follows. Patients at home dip a urinalysis dipstick in a collected sample, place the dipstick on a color-scaled card, and take a photo with a smartphone camera. The dipstick measures 10 parameters including infections, chronic illnesses, and pregnancy-related complications. According to the company, its proprietary computer vision algorithms and calibration method yield accurate results in a challenging situation with different cameras and infinitely variable lighting conditions.’s mobile app guides the user through the test process and transmits the test results to the patient’s electronic medical record for follow-up if needed.

In testing with the U.S. National Kidney Foundation, and Geisinger Health saw a 71% adherence rate among previously untested patients with hypertension. When the U.K. National Health Service began testing with the home urinalysis kit, 10% of the patients tested positive for elevated protein levels. High protein levels can indicate unknown kidney disease. By identifying patients with unknown kidney disease early, clinicians have a chance to reduce the risk of complications, potentially saving lives and the significant financial costs of medical care for failed kidneys.

Positive results from new technology that can detect and head off developing diseases and medical conditions ultimately could have a much larger impact than devices or treatments that help after damage occurs.