NFC turns smartphones in medical diagnostic tools

A new solution by Gentag could turn any NFC-enabled smartphone into a portable medical lab for diagnosing/treating a number of different conditions.

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Over the past several weeks, I’ve devoted a couple of posts to NFC (near field communication), talking about how the technology has potential beyond just turning a smartphone into an e-wallet and letting you pay for things without swiping a credit or debit card. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great concept and can’t wait to see it broadly implemented (especially after losing my debit card last month – I would’ve been much more aware if I’d left that sports bar without my iPhone than I was when I left it without my debit card). But, there are some other really great potential uses like getting information about a business as you walk by a storefront or as an alternative login method for a computer (or wireless network).

This week saw the introduction of NFC into healthcare, a field that I don’t think occurred to a lot of people. A company called Gentag has announced a medical testing solution that relies on NFC to retrieve results from a disposable test strip and communicate that data to a smartphone. The smartphone then uses a secure connection to transmit the information to the EMR (electronic medical records) system of the patient’s physician, hospital, or clinic.

The company’s test strips can be used to check for a fairly wide range of diseases (including HIV, some common cancers like prostate cancer, and other common illnesses), fever, pregnancy and fertility (including ovulation and labor), the presence of allergens, blood glucose, drugs, and common pathogens. It can also be used to deliver medications.

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