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Micromachines 2017, 8(11), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8110317

Rethinking the Design of Low-Cost Point-of-Care Diagnostic Devices

1
Kiambu District Hospital, Kiambu 00900, Kenya
2
School of Public Health, Kenyatta University, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
3
Department of Sociology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
4
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
5
Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 00100, USA
6
Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, Suffolk University, Boston, MA 02108, USA
7
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
8
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
9
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
10
Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2), Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 October 2017 / Revised: 21 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paper-Based Transducers and Electronics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1452 KB, uploaded 27 October 2017]   |  

Abstract

Reducing the global diseases burden requires effective diagnosis and treatment. In the developing world, accurate diagnosis can be the most expensive and time-consuming aspect of health care. Healthcare cost can, however, be reduced by use of affordable rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). In the developed world, low-cost RDTs are being developed in many research laboratories; however, they are not being equally adopted in the developing countries. This disconnect points to a gap in the design philosophy, where parameterization of design variables ignores the most critical component of the system, the point-of-use stakeholders (e.g., doctors, nurses and patients). Herein, we demonstrated that a general focus on reducing cost (i.e., “low-cost”), rather than efficiency and reliability is misguided by the assumption that poverty reduces the value individuals place on their well-being. A case study of clinicians in Kenya showed that “zero-cost” is a low-weight parameter for point-of-use stakeholders, while reliability and standardization are crucial. We therefore argue that a user-driven, value-addition systems-engineering approach is needed for the design of RDTs to enhance adoption and translation into the field. View Full-Text
Keywords: low cost; diagnostics; technology adoption; value-added design; health care; rapid diagnostics low cost; diagnostics; technology adoption; value-added design; health care; rapid diagnostics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kimani, F.W.; Mwangi, S.M.; Kwasa, B.J.; Kusow, A.M.; Ngugi, B.K.; Chen, J.; Liu, X.; Cademartiri, R.; Thuo, M.M. Rethinking the Design of Low-Cost Point-of-Care Diagnostic Devices. Micromachines 2017, 8, 317.

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