How mobile health can save a baby’s life

Every year, over 100,000 newborns die and 60,000 suffer lifelong disability because of newborn jaundice. In Asia, it is one of the top ten leading causes of disability in newborns. Jaundice is also a leading cause of hospital readmission after birth in high-income economies. When detected early, treatment of jaundice is easily treated with phototherapy. However, today’s options for newborn jaundice screening are either unreliable, expensive or invasive. As a result, newborns are at risk of being treated too late, or could undergo invasive, labour-intensive and expensive procedures unnecessarily. 

To address these challenges and ensure a better beginning for all lives everywhere, Picterus AS has developed a mobile health solution called Picterus Jaundice Pro. With only a smartphone and a calibration card the size of a bank card, this CE-marked medical device provides an immediate estimate of bilirubin to assess the severity of jaundice, assisting in timely diagnosis and treatment.

An urgent need for an easy-to-use, point-of-care solution

As hospital stays after births are getting shorter, the need for a flexible solution to monitor newborns in the first weeks of life is growing. For newborn jaundice, the current options raise many barriers to good and timely jaundice care. Transcutaneous screening devices are expensive and unavailable in many places, especially at a community level. Blood tests are invasive, expensive and require access to trained staff and a laboratory. As a result, many healthcare workers still assess the severity of jaundice by simply looking at a newborn’s skin colour, which is unreliable.

Enhancing jaundice care

 

The Picterus Jaundice Pro mobile screening solution captures images of the baby’s skin to accurately estimate the bilirubin value and determine the severity of jaundice within seconds. The patented calibration card corrects for the lighting environment and smartphone camera characteristics of the acquired photos. With minimal requirements for cell phone connectivity, Jaundice Pro is accessible across various healthcare settings, including inpatient, outpatient, and homecare, and requires minimum training of healthcare professionals or lay users while guiding them every step of the way. 

“Picterus is on a mission to improve the quality of newborn care everywhere,” Picterus CEO Tormod Thomsen explains. “With just a few pictures from your phone, jaundice can be monitored everywhere, saving healthcare resources and avoiding a distressing experience for babies and their families”. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened great opportunities for telemedicine and remote monitoring of patients. Mobile health technologies are in a unique position to respond to the challenges of building sustainable healthcare systems and providing equal access to care. Picterus is exploring new ways to provide integrated newborn care solutions to healthcare professionals and parents. 

Get in touch with Picterus to discuss how we can improve beginnings for all lives together