Screening for Cervical Cancer with Smartphones

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Excerpted from Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems

Realizing that far more people have access to a mobile phone than to a physician, Tel Aviv, Israel-based Mobile ODT has turned mobile phones into video-colposcopes. Mobile ODT’s battery-operated EVA (Enhanced Visual Assessment) System is lightweight and far smaller than a shoebox. Even so it has proven to be rugged enough to operate in makeshift screening camps in Cambodia, mountains in Nepal, and in rainforests in Central America. At the time of this writing, more than 22,000 women have been screened with the EVA System in 26 countries.

The EVA System features a reliable light source designed to reduce glare and a lens capable of magnifying 16-fold. The quality of the images captured is equivalent to traditional colposcopes but the costs are 80% less. Since the EVA System makes no contact with the patient’s body, risks of contamination or tissue damage are eliminated. (The lens captures a diagnosis-quality image by peering into the patient’s body after a speculum widens the vagina.)

The EVA System’s embedded Samsung J5 series phone enables connectivity, allowing clinicians to capture images and data as well as to seek guidance from remote specialists. By placing the power of traditional colposcopes on platforms familiar to the masses, Mobile ODT helps bring the effectiveness of new clinicians closer to that of seasoned professionals. Indeed, clinicians in developing countries can acquire the skills necessary to operate the EVA System in courses that are as short as a few days or via online training.

At least 23 states in the United States and 20% of the emergency rooms in New York State use the EVA System to conduct forensic examinations relating to allegations of sexual assault. In addition to examining the vaginal canal, the EVA System facilitates cataloging of the related images and documents. Collected documents and data are securely stored on servers which preserves chain-of-custody protocols and, if needed, enables the secure sharing of such documents with law enforcement authorities. Of even more importance, the preservation of such records provides a source that medical providers can refer to in order to insure that sex assault victims receive the necessary ongoing care. The simplicity of the EVA System is highly valued in the realm of forensics. Young, traumatized and bleeding sex assault victims do not want to lie on examination tables waiting for technicians to figure out how to operate a complicated, intimidating colposcope.

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