Scanwell launches at-home smartphone test, telehealth for UTIs

Scanwell Health is launching a smartphone-powered home test for urinary tract infections, with an app that can also connect adult women to a doctor to remotely prescribe antibiotics if needed.

Its FDA-cleared and over-the-counter test will be available in all 50 states of the U.S., with telehealth services offered through a partnership with Lemonaid Health that will provide remote diagnoses.

The commercial launch will be powered by a recently raised $3.5 million in seed funding, from investors including Y Combinator, Founders Fund, Mayfield, DCM and Version One, as well as Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures. The proceeds will also help develop new products and grow Scanwell’s team.

“This funding from an incredible group of investors, together with the national launch of our test and app, are exciting milestones that will allow us to realize our vision of making reliable, convenient at-home testing available to millions of people,” Scanwell’s founder and CEO, Stephen Chen, said in a statement.

“We have a number of additional diagnostic tests in the pipeline that have the potential to change the way we diagnose and treat infections and monitor chronic diseases. We look forward to working with additional partners to bring these tests to people across the country,” Chen said.

Scanwell’s test strip, available for $15 for a pack of three, is designed to deliver a urinalysis result in about two minutes, the company said. The color-changing results on the strip are read and interpreted by the smartphone’s camera.

If the signs of a UTI are found, the connected iOS or Android app links the user to Lemonaid’s virtual network of physicians and nurse practitioners. Common UTIs prompt about 10 million doctor visits in the U.S. annually, according to the telehealth firm.

"Before Scanwell Health, virtual visits for UTIs relied on patient-reported symptoms for diagnosis," said Jack Jeng, Scanwell’s chief medical officer. "Recent studies suggest that this approach results in 30% to 50% of cases being treated inappropriately with antibiotics. With the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and the call for improved antibiotic stewardship, clinicians are now more judicious in how we treat common infections like UTIs."

Meanwhile, Scanwell maintains a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study, which aims to improve screening and monitoring of chronic kidney disease at home. Scanwell is using its urinalysis technology to screen participants’ samples for excess proteins, with the goal of identifying chronic disease at earlier stages.