Rapid at-home Covid tests to offer results in minutes
Telehealth company Ro has partnered with healthcare AI firm Gauss to offer Covid-19 tests that can be administered at home, with the results processed on the user's smartphone.
The antigen test identifies protein fragments (also known as antigens) from the virus, giving results within 15 minutes. To complete it, patients follow step-by-step video instructions in the Gauss app, which demonstrate how to collect a nasal swab sample and perform the test. Once ready, the app notifies the user to scan the test with their smartphone so it can process the image using computer vision and artificial intelligence.
The app then tells the user if the test result is negative or positive within seconds. Healthcare providers are available via Ro's telehealth platform to answer any questions the users may have about their test results.
The partnership will enable the test to be delivered through Ro's primary care telehealth platform once it's received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorisation. Once approved, patients will be able to order the tests through Ro’s digital healthcare clinics, which will ship the test directly to people's homes.
Zachariah Reitano, Co-Founder and CEO of Ro, said: “COVID-19 testing remains critical to thwarting the ongoing pandemic, but the traditional testing options put unnecessary burdens on patients and providers: the tests are difficult to access, take too long to deliver results, leave patients without support as to next steps related to their results, and may expose healthcare providers to infected patients.
"We’ve partnered with Gauss, a leader in healthcare AI, to deliver an end-to-end COVID-19 testing experience that is reliable, can be completed at home within minutes, and includes access to healthcare providers who can help patients understand what comes next."
The test is powered by an encrypted, HIPAA-compliant smartphone app developed by Gauss’s team of clinical and technology leaders. According to the results of a clinical trial submitted by Gauss to the FDA, it has a 94.4% positive per cent agreement, and 99.2% negative per cent agreement compared to other tests.
"Bringing together Gauss’s innovative testing technology and our vertically integrated primary care platform, we will enable people nationwide to more quickly and easily find out their COVID-19 status and keep themselves and their communities safe" Reitano said.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.