How Digital Diagnostics are Changing Healthcare

By Sean Parsons, Founder and CEO, Ellume

Sean Parsons, Founder and CEO, Ellume

The Importance of Accurate Tests to Good Medicine

Despite advances in healthcare over recent decades, infectious diseases remain burdensome illnesses. Influenza kills more people in America than car accidents, tuberculosis kills over 5,000 people every day around the world, and antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat.

Making an accurate diagnosis early in the illnesses’ course and connecting the patient to optimal treatment is the key to improving the outcome to the individual, and reducing the burdenon healthcare systems.

"For Ellume, it’s about integrating diagnostics and technology to make quality care accessible and affordable"

Ellume was founded to create solutions to these problems by developing accurate, simple-to-use tests that connect diagnostic results to optimal treatment.

Making Digital Diagnostics Simple

The rise of the smartphone has hugely impacted healthcare globally. When I founded Ellume in 2010, smartphones were becoming more mainstream, but flip phones were still the norm.In 2017, nearly 90 percent of American consumers used digital tools such as telemedicine, wearables and online health, and the industry is just getting started.

Digital diagnostics connect to smart devices to enable a seamless connection with appropriate care, and it promises to play a major role for consumers and clinicians. Most importantly, this type of testing can fast-track the care plan for time-sensitive diseases. For highly contagious and burdensome illness like flu, the delay to result impacts the quality of care as the effectiveness of available therapies decreases as the virus progresses through its lifecycle. For Ellume, it’s about integrating diagnostics and technology to make quality care accessible and affordable.


When we designed Ellume’s patented technology suite, we focused on simplifying the delivery of results and improving clinical decision making. The team worked across multiple disciplines, including mechanical engineering, nanotechnology and immunoassay technology, and it took multiple iterations before we came up with our solution. What makes our products innovative is the combination of ourpatented technology, unique cartridge system and user-friendly software.

We sought to improve on existing lab technologies, such as Europium-based immunoassays, which are some of the best products available today. The outcome was an integrated system of new innovations including a multi-quantum dot nanoparticle to detect low levels of disease markers in a simple, robust and affordable test system.

This system is contained in a single-use test cartridge about the size of your index finger. The cartridge analyses and transmits results in 12to 20 minutes. Through rigorous testing, we demonstrated that we could take a range of samples from nasal swabs, throat swabs and blood to test for several disease states like Tuberculosis, Influenza A, Influenza B and group A streptococcus among others.

A key part of our design was to create user-friendly software to guide the user through the entire testing process, to minimise error for both patients and clinicians. Our goal is to assist clinics and hospitals in moving to a cloud-based, real-time data collection system and create greater efficiencies in patient care.

We are focused on creating inexpensive products that are simple to manufacture on a large scale. We want our products to be an accessible and affordablesolution for hospitals, community clinics and patients.

Ellume today

Ellume is focussed on three areas where we believe we can make substantial impacts on global health, with several products due to launch soon.

1. Consumer Healthcare, where we’ve partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to bring the first at-home influenza test to the US.

2. Global Public Health, where we have partnered with QIAGEN to bring the next generation of the successful QuantiFERON tuberculosis test to market. Tuberculosis is still a big problem, and multi-drug resistant TB is positively scary, so we are pleased to be playing a role. By combining our detection technology with Qiagen’s TB test system, we have created a simple yet accurate test for low and middle-income countries investing in eradicating TB.

3. Digital diagnostics for US primary care practitioners, we have created and are preparing to commercialise ellume•lab. ellume•lab uses digital features to securely and simply give clinicians the tools they need at the point-of-care to look after their patients.

By developing simple and accurate diagnostics, and by digitally connecting people to optimal therapy, we are illuminating and enabling rapid recovery from common infectious diseases.

To learn more about Ellume and stay connected with its news, visit or follow @Ellumehealth on Twitter.

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