Scanwell Health, CRIC collaborate to improve screening and monitoring for kidney disease at home

Friday, April 12, 2019

Today, the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study and Scanwell Health are proud to announce the launch of their partnership in developing an innovative approach for patients to perform at-home urine testing for kidney disease. This collaboration combines computer vision and clinically validated dipstick technology into a smartphone app to allow patients to screen their urine for excess protein from home.

Currently, up to 90% of U.S. adults considered at risk are not being screened for kidney disease due to low public awareness and logistical barriers to easy testing on a large scale. However, an estimated 30 million Americans may have kidney disease, and the rising prevalence of both high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus are contributing to a higher number of people at risk.

The CRIC Study and Scanwell Health hope that increased access to screening and monitoring will help identify kidney disease in more people earlier and discover any change in risk among persons with known kidney disease. This could allow for more timely interventions to slow down the progression of kidney disease and associated clinical complications.

"Our vision is to delay or eliminate the need for dialysis by intervening as soon as possible," said Stephen Chen, CEO of Scanwell Health. "Identifying kidney disease earlier is the first step, and to make that happen, we shouldn't have to wait for patients to come into a brick and mortar facility to screen them—we should be going to them."

The first use of the technology will be as part of the CRIC Study, which is an ongoing prospective cohort study of patients with chronic kidney disease sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Up to 1,250 CRIC participants will test themselves monthly at home over the course of one year using the "CRIC At Home" app with urine test kits that will be mailed to them.

"This collaboration between the CRIC Study and Scanwell Health will provide new and unique insights into patterns of urine protein levels over time in a large, diverse group of adults with chronic kidney disease," said Alan S. Go, MD, Principal Investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Northern California/University of California, San Francisco CRIC Clinical Center.

Kidney Disease Facts

  • An estimated 1 in 7 American adults have some form of chronic kidney disease, but it is asymptomatic in the early stages and can go undetected for many years.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to half of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease may be unaware they have it.
  • Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, older age, black/African American race, family history of kidney disease, obesity, tobacco use and cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney disease is linked to higher risks of heart disease, stroke and death as well as negative effects on quality of life. However, there are different lifestyle and medical interventions that can be used to treat kidney disease and its complications.

CRIC Study Facts
The Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study is an observational prospective study that has been evaluating factors for progression of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease in adults with chronic kidney disease who do or do not have diabetes mellitus. CRIC participants undergo extensive clinical evaluation at entry and at annual in-person visits and via telephone at 6-month intervals. The new phase of the CRIC Study launched in September 2018 and will be examining a broad range of risk factors (from molecular biomarkers of disease pathways to clinical, demographic, and behavioral characteristics) on the progression of kidney disease and other health consequences. It will also develop and implement novel approaches to deep phenotyping of kidney disease using cutting-edge remote data capture technologies.

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