Most of the low to medium income, developing nations are many times deprived of medical and other healthcare facilities, due to several reasons such as distance between the patient and healthcare service providers and others. Researchers have devised an important solution to this by creating medical diagnostic applications that are really small and can fit into the objects that people are already using in their day to day life. Cell phones were identified as one such object that can bring the hospital to the door or in the hand of the patient. Some of the emerging cell phone-enabled diagnostics include, cell-phone lensfree microscope, cell-phone based imaging using microchip ELISA, mobile phone based clinical microscopy, cell-phone based platform as a biomedical device and telemedicine tools using mobile phone cameras along with paper microfluidics.
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Some of the examples of these cell phone-based diagnostic tests applications are Roche's Accu-ChekA Glucose Buddy, which is an iPhone application and Arkray's Smart e-SMBG, which is an android application. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases and many other infectious diseases are in huge demand worldwide, which are in their developmental stages at different universities and companies. The cell phone-enabled diagnostics market can be classified into five major segments, namely, cell phone-enabled diagnostics for diabetes, cell phone-enabled rapid immunoassays, cell-phone enabled microscopy, and cell phone-enabled molecular tests.
Major driving factors for the growth of this market include, technological advancements in diagnostic testing techniques, increasing number of applications of cell phone-based diagnostics, and rising awareness and demand for various cell phone-based technologies. Recent technological advancements have made researchers to think and develop cell phone-based applications that can help in different diagnostic tests. At present, cell phone based diagnostic tests are available for diabetes, histology, hematology, immunoassays and others, which will help grow this market. Rising number of applications of these cell phone-based diagnostics will further boost this market’s growth. Major objective of developing these cell phone-based diagnostics was to reach the underserved population of the world that is mainly located in low to medium income, developing nations. Thus, increasing awareness about such applications along with increasing trend of using smartphones will create more demand for such diagnostics; in turn will contribute towards the growth of this market. However, the cell phone-based diagnostics is still at its nascent stage both in developed as well as developing economies. Future growth will depend both on smartphone industry as well as type of applications for different diagnostic tests installed and utilized by its users worldwide.
Geographically, North America dominates the cell phone-based diagnostics market with highest market share followed by the European market. Major factors responsible for the growth of this market in these regions are high awareness and demand for advanced and point of care diagnostics, high usage of smartphones as well as smartphone based applications in these regions and early availability of newly launched diagnostic applications in these regions. However, other emerging nations located in regions like Asia-Pacific, LATAM and Middle East are expected to grow at a fast pace in near future due to increasing number of smartphone users in most of the developing regions and huge unmet needs of the population present in these regions. Ease of use as well as easy reach in rural areas of these regions of cell phone-based diagnostics will also drive this market’s growth in future. Some of the major players operating in this market are AgaMatrix, Inc., Alere, Inc., ARUP Laboratories, BIO-key International, Inc., CellScope, Inc., Genomic Health, Inc., GenPrime, Inc., GlySens Incorporated, HolGenTech, Inc., Leica Microsystems, Lifescan, Inc., Medtronic, Inc., Oasis Scientific, Inc., QIAGEN and TelCare, Inc.
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