It all started in a ski lift in which Pieternel Kölling (psychiatrist) discussed the idea of developing a direct way to measure patients' lithium levels with a friend, Professor Albert van den Berg (University of Twente, including Lab-on-Chip technology). How nice would it be to do this during a consultation at the practitioner's desk or even by a patient at home. An important motive behind this idea for Pieternel Kölling: the prevention of lithium intoxications.
Picture: Pieternel Kölling & Steven Staal (Fisic) after a selftest training.
This development has been initiated and Fisic now offers the possibility to perform lithium measurements on location with the Medimate. In addition to lithium also creatinine and kidney function are measured at the same time. Within a few minutes, the psychiatrist or specialized mental health nurse can discuss the result with the patient.
A number of patients use the Medimate at home. For the time being, still in a study project, in which one of Pieternel Kölling's patients also participates. The experiences with this should lead to a larger-scale use of the Medimate for home measurements.
The advantage of this is that the patient himself has access to the lithium level. It avoids doubt whether it is good. For example, if the patient feels or behaves differently or in case of illness, during holidays and on hot days. A visit to a laboratory or puncture center is then not necessary. And the patient no longer has to wait long for the results.
Better insight into lithium levels makes patients feel less insecure and more involved in their treatment. As a result, adherence to therapy increases and many patients adjust their behavior around the medication.
Pieternel already expressed the wish for a self-test at home and reporting the lithium values to practitioners with a graph about its progress in a video in 2010. In it she outlines her future vision for a Lab-on-Chip diagnosis.
‘If we can achieve that with the University of Twente, we will approach the ideal in my opinion,’ Pieternel concludes in the video.
Measuring the lithium level at home with the Medimate is now an important step and Pieternel's long-cherished wish has come true. The patient can measure at any time and Pieternel can directly view the measurement data via an app, check it and, if necessary, also consult with the patient to adjust the medication.
Home measurements are still possible on a limited scale for patients in consultation with their practitioner.
The Medimate is available to practitioners in the Netherlands to measure lithium and creatinine on location using a finger prick. This provides psychiatrists and specialist mental health nurses with up-to-date information on patients' lithium, creatinine and renal function blood levels in minutes. The results can be discussed immediately and the medication can be adjusted if necessary. With the great advantage: more certainty for practitioners and patients.