A newly developed technology may enable urologists in impoverished countries to perform expensive endoscopic procedures previously restricted by access to quality equipment and other resource limitations.
The Endockscope system (ES) is 3D-printed adaptor that connects a smartphone to the eyepiece of an endoscope and costs approximately $45. Faculty members at the University of California at Irvine’s Department of Urology and Henry Samueli School of Engineering collaborated on the new technology.
“The ES provides urologists in resource-challenged countries with an effective, durable, and inexpensive means for performing rigid and flexible endoscopy of the bladder and ureter,” the authors of a global assessment of the ES concluded in the Journal of Endourology.
Many urologists globally lack access to state-of-the-art endoscopic equipment, adding to global healthcare inequities.
The product’s developers distributed it to urologists from 23 countries. Data collected from those in the poorest countries support its ability to perform cystoscopies and ureteroscopy effectively and at a low cost.
Rigid cystoscopy was the most common procedure done with the technology.
The authors also cite the significant worldwide growth of telemedicine created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In keeping with this trend, it would appear that there is significant promise in how the ES may contribute to the advancement of telemedicine by allowing expert endourologists in one part of the world to examine, diagnose, and guide video endoscopy in another part of the world,” they write.