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Remote quality assurance in cervical cancer screening in low-resource settings using a handheld smartphone-based colposcope

Mar 12, 2015 | Medical Research

Remote quality assurance in cervical cancer screening in low-resource settings using a mobile smartphone colposcopeREAD THE FULL PAPER >

Abstract: Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for women all across the developing world, where much of the infrastructure required for effective cervical cancer screening is unavailable because of limited resources. One of the most common method to screen for cervical cancer is by visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), in which the cervix is imaged with the naked eye.

Given inherent challenges in analysis and documentation when characterizing cervical tissue with the naked eye, an optical solution is needed. To address this challenge, a smartphone was modified and transformed into a mobile colposcope (a device used to image the cervix from outside) by adding a custom-fit light source and optics. The mobile smartphone colposcope was designed such that it augments VIA and easily integrates within the standard of care. The mobile smartphone colposcope is controlled by an app, which, stores cervical images captured on the mobile smartphone colposcope on a portal, enabling remote doctors to evaluate images and the treatment chosen by the health worker. Images from patients undergoing cervical cancer screening by a nurse using VIA in the University Hospital of Mirebalais (HUM) GYN outpatient clinic in Haiti were captured on the mobile smartphone colposcope. These images were later analyzed by an experienced OB/GYN at HUM, who determined whether or not the patient should be treated with cryoablation; more complicated cases were also shared with a consulting doctor in the US. The opinions of the experienced OB/GYN doctors at HUM, as well as the experts from the US, were used to educate nurses and midwives performing mobile colposcopy. These results suggest that remote assessment offered by mobile colposcopy can improve training of health workers performing VIA, and ultimately affect the therapy administered to patients.

Keywords: smartphone imaging, colposcopy, low-resource settings

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