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Smart phones may be able to diagnose patients in as little as five years

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 4:07 PM - In the near future patients may be diagnosed by handheld devices and sent to a specialist without having to visit their family doctor.

There are a few companies developing the applicable technology.

One of them is Illumina Inc. Earlier this month the organization discussed its plans to create a DNA chip that plugs into a smartphone device.

Illumina's chief technology officer Mostafa Ronaghi says the chip will act as a 'molecular stethoscope' that could eventually eliminate the need for a general practitioner.


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"We will not need a primary doctor in the future, you will get tested [at home or in a clinic] and go directly to a specialist -- I believe it will happen in five to seven years," Ronaghi is quoted saying by EE Times.

If developed, the DNA chip could be the next chapter in smartphone medical technology.

There are already mobile applications in circulation that promote self-diagnoses, like Molescope -- an app designed to detect the onset of skin cancer -- or CellScopeOto, which uses an iPhone to detect ear infections.

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