Team:KUAS Korea/HP/Silver


Human Practices

Current Occult Blood Test

The conventional occult blood test has to go to the hospital directly and it takes a long time for the examination. According to our investigation, the test itself is not expensive. However, the whole examine process need a few expensive laboratory facilities hence it is difficult to perform the test in a poor medical environment. Also, we thought that patients would feel uncomfortable and shameful in the process of submitting their stools.

To find out the current circumstances and inconveniences of occult blood test that we might possibly improve through our project, we contacted to local hospital, Anam hospital of Korea University Medical Center. Fortunately, the chief of the hospital diagnostic laboratory gave us the opportunity to observe and discuss about the actual examination process with researhcers of clinical laboratory. We visited the microbiology lab on September 5th and saw the process of actual test. Researchers took out some of the stool from the sample collected from each patients, diluted it in the test tube, and mixed it with the reagent and put it in the machine. The actual test time is about 3 hours, but since it is preferred to examine many samples (approximately 50 at a time) at one time, it took a long time gathering sufficient amount of samples from patients visiting the hospital.

In the Republic of Korea, the whole cost of the occult blood test is about $10, but our national health insurance service supports half. But in developing countries, $10 is quite expensive. The measuring machine is also very expensive. Therefore, reducing costs and time of occult blood tests is the key to our project.

Occult blood is a precursor symptom of various internal diseases. Early diagnosis is therefore crucial to preventing those diseases. Our probiotic system has the advantage that it can be easily diagnosed anywhere and anytime with low cost.

Current Stool Test

The fecal culture for infection is held at every public health center in Korea for 1.5 thousand won. This is one of the national medical insurance service offered from Korean Government and is needed for employment in the foodservice industry.

The process is as follows. First, you visit the public health center near your residence. After you write your personal information, they give you a cotton swab in a bottle. Then, you go to the restroom and collect your fetus component in your anal. If you submit the swab to the front desk, the clinical pathology center will analyze your stool and give permission your health document needed in employment. It takes about one to two weeks to receive your test results.

In the meantime, the analyzation of stool is held in the pathology center in public health center. The stool samples from the test participants are cultured in isolation on MacConkey and SS culture medium. After culturing them, if a suspicious colony is detected, the center subculture this colony on KIA culture medium separately. Final identification is done through using special API kit. The principle of API kit is inoculating and culturing bacterial suspension in test tubes that have specific dry materials such as TDA or JAMES. While it is being cultured, if a specific bacteria, for example, Salmonella Typhi, the color of the test tube changes by itself or by addition of secondary reagent, and shows the presence of specific bacteria. The visualized color can be recognized its differences in each bacteria. Eventually, the test results are delivered to the participants. The analyzation process is held in a fixed procedure and takes up 26% of the task of each public health center test center.

The statistical data provided by Inha medical university medical center shows that these tests are the most efficient regarding all existing techniques in detecting waterborne diseases such as cholera or typhoid fever, which are dangerous infectious diseases. However, even though these tests are held at a cost, the government budget is used in this process is sufficient compared to the number of detected disease carriers. The total national budget used in health center is 100 million won including labor costs, and allocation per one typhoid carrier is 1.11 thousand won at a year (Inha Medical school disease control center, 2008). However, the number of carriers found are below 100 and are identified in a sporadic pattern. Not only the expense used from the country but also time consummation could be inconvenient for the users who want the results in a short time. If we also calculate the time usage of visiting the health care center, this becomes a huge consumption, as the result comes about a week after on average. By researching about this process specifically, we could observe the expense charged in stool test in a reasonable manner.

While researching on cost analysis of current stool test, we thought that we could also analyze the cost efficiency of our own project ‘POO-robiotics’. If you follow our link down below, you could check our dry lab modeling on the expense compared with the previous stool tests.


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