February 23, 2024

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Singapore: New App for Uroflowmetry Analysis


Associate Professor Ng Lay Guat of Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has created a mobile application capable of detecting abnormal urine flow. When implemented, the app may reduce clinic wait times by allowing patients to perform certain tests at home prior to their visit. Currently, in testing, the SGH urology team led by Associate Professor Ng is likely to launch the app within the year.

Patients being treated for urological conditions routinely submit to uroflowmetry, a standard test in which they urinate into an electronic machine. The collected data assists physicians in determining the treatment’s efficacy and whether any modifications are necessary. For the test to be accurate, the patient’s bladder must be full; otherwise, the result may be inconclusive.

The clinic can be a stressful environment for the patient, according to Dr Edwin Jonathan Aslim, Consultant, Department of Urology, SGH. Having other patients behind them in line for the same test can induce anxiety, so they perform the test quickly even if the bladder is not full.

He added that inaccurate test results require patients to retake the examination, which increases their waiting time by one to two hours, as the bladder must fill up again. Hence, patients might even have to return on a different day.

With the app, patients can retake the test at home without anxiety as often as they desire, providing doctors with a more accurate picture of their condition. Using the app will also enable nurses to devote more attention to patients who require it. With the standard method, nurses must transport the patient to the machine, empty the urine container, and replace it when the test is complete.

The team is collaborating with the Singapore University of Technology and Design to create an app that will measure the speed and volume of urination. It can also determine patterns, such as whether the urine flow is continuous or intermittent.

An SGH analysis led by Assoc Prof Ng from 2017 to 2019 gathered data that was later employed to acquire a deep-learning algorithm that processes app data. In addition to measuring urine output, the app has other useful features, such as a voiding diary.

When released, the app will provide physicians with vital information, such as the fact that a sluggish flow in male patients with an enlarged prostate may indicate an obstruction. The app can measure urine volume in women with overactive bladder for use in keeping a voiding diary. Patients now measure and record the volume of their bowel movements manually.

Assoc Prof Ng anticipates that the app will eventually be utilised in the primary care setting, where patients with stable conditions can be monitored. The app will provide the polyclinic doctor or general practitioner with actual parameters, as opposed to relying on the patient’s subjective description.

In addition to these features, the app is a useful screening tool for the general public. If patients detect anything abnormal on their apps, they can consult a physician, who can then make an accurate diagnosis after conducting additional tests.

According to emerging digital health trends, more patients than ever are using their smartphones to track their general health, get health advice, and have video calls with doctors for prescriptions. Patients value the undeniable convenience that healthcare apps offer.

Patients can benefit from lower costs, immediate access to individualised care, and an increased sense of control over their health thanks to advances in mobile healthcare technology.


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