Next Article in Journal
Acousto-Plasmonic Sensing Assisted by Nonlinear Optical Interactions in Bimetallic Au-Pt Nanoparticles
Next Article in Special Issue
Arrayed Force Sensors Made of Paper, Elastomer, and Hydrogel Particles
Previous Article in Journal
Topography Measurement of Large-Range Microstructures through Advanced Fourier-Transform Method and Phase Stitching in Scanning Broadband Light Interferometry
Previous Article in Special Issue
A Single-Use, Self-Powered, Paper-Based Sensor Patch for Detection of Exercise-Induced Hypoglycemia
Article Menu
Issue 11 (November) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Micromachines 2017, 8(11), 317; doi:10.3390/mi8110317

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

Kiambu District Hospital, Kiambu 00900, Kenya
School of Public Health, Kenyatta University, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Department of Sociology, Kenyatta University, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 00100, USA
Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, Suffolk University, Boston, MA 02108, USA
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King’s College Road, Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
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]   |  


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

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).

Supplementary material

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Micromachines EISSN 2072-666X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top