ironPhone: Mobile device-coupled point-of-care diagnostics for assessment of iron status by quantification of serum ferritin

Biosens Bioelectron. 2018 Jan 15:99:115-121. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2017.07.038. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


Iron deficiency (ID) is an urgent public health problem that has devastating effects on maternal and child health. However, due to poor access and affordability, screening and diagnosis for ID is often limited to proxy hemoglobin measurements alone. Here, we report the development and validation of ironPhone, a mobile-device coupled portable diagnostics for quantification of serum ferritin concentrations, an iron status biomarker, within a few minutes, from a drop of fingerprick blood. The ironPhone diagnostic platform comprises of a smartphone accessory, an app, and a disposable lateral flow immunoassay test strip to quantify serum ferritin. For initial validation in the lab, we optimized and evaluated the performance of ironPhone with known ferritin concentrations in spiked buffer and serum samples. Following lab validation, we performed a human validation by collecting fingerprick whole blood samples from 20 participants to assess iron status using ironPhone and compared the results with the laboratory standard IMMULITE 2000 analyzer. Findings from the ironPhone for the buffer and spiked serum samples provided a calibration curve with R2 values of 0.97 (n=27) and 0.93 (n=12), respectively. On comparison with the laboratory standard IMMULITE analyzer in whole blood samples, a correlation of 0.92 (P<0.0001) was observed with a sensitivity of over 90% for predicting ID (ferritin<15.0µg/L) via the ironPhone, demonstrating its promise for iron status assessment at the point-of-care.

Keywords: Diagnostics; Ferritin; Iron deficiency; Lateral flow immunoassay; Point-of-care.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Cell Phone
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Ferritins / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood*
  • Iron / isolation & purification


  • Ferritins
  • Iron