Smartphones become key healthcare devices with new software enabling them to measure vital signs

by Calvin on March 19, 2021

in Articles

Over the years, smartphone technology has grown in strength. Not only has it enabled us to carry out multiple tasks at ease that extend far beyond using it for communication purposes, but it has also allowed us to monitor metrics such as sleep and exercise.  

Smart Devices have become a popular gadget of choice today when it comes to measuring health metrics. Many now own smartwatches which help to monitor exercise times and sleep quality. The graph below indicates clearly how popular smartphones are considering health monitoring.

(Image Source: Statista)

However, the pandemic has brought with it some new challenges that have helped to accelerate technology far beyond years thanks to the development of innovative new kit. The nature of the virus has made face-to-face appointments impossible. Many healthcare professionals have had to carry out video consultations. Although this is a great alternative to in-person appointments, they do bring upon challenges of their own. 

Firstly, doctors are unable to physically check patients, lowering the level of care. They also can not check vital signs such as temperature, especially in children, which has caused an array of problems. However, new advancements in technology could be a solution. Governments have been desperate to find a way that helps to contain the virus but equally offers a level of care that is in the best interest of the patients, and here’s a look at some..

Binah.ai

A new app, Binah.ai, uses the camera built into smart devices to measure vital signs by looking at the user’s face. Metrics can be taken in as little as under a minute, allowing professionals to act fast to situations. The app is able to measure minute colour changes happening on the user’s foreheads and cheeks. The tiny colour changes are able to provide clear indications regarding the blood flow behind the skin. 

Analysing the blood flow in this way means healthcare professionals are able to understand vital measures according to the user’s body, such as heart rate, oxygen saturation, BMI, respiration levels, and even stress levels. The tool is still at trial, with thousands of users testing it for wide-scale approval. 

Leman Micro Devices

LMD’s small device, which can be attached to the back of a smartphone, houses a small sensor against which the user squeezes their index finger. The app in connection to the smartphone uses an array of games that help ensure they are using the sensor correctly to pull vital metrics out of. The sensor can track the pressure along with what the vessel looks like under the surface of the skin to help measure blood pressure. 

This type of technology will be very helpful for those who need to regularly measure their blood pressure if they suffer from high pressure or other health conditions. But it will also help doctors measure healthy people, and especially over the pandemic, as fewer patients come in to see doctors, catching health problems early 

Tyto Care

Tyto care is a small device that comes with a number of attachments and can be controlled via a smartphone application. The device itself aims to help users when having a remote doctor’s appointment. The device comes with attachments that help to look inside ears and throats and comes with a stethoscope. The app is paired with the device and can send findings such as temperature to the user’s doctor. 

Going one step further, if the healthcare provider is also signed up, they can take control of the device via the app, which enables live video calling. The device can take on physical elements of an appointment that would typically be carried out by doctors in face-to-face appointments. This device could be great for remote monitoring of patients’ care collecting metrics daily. 

Moving forward, the pandemic has created major paradigm shifts in the way we work and play today. As the pandemic continues, there is huge potential for technology like this in the future, especially as newer devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 feature a 40-megapixel front-facing camera. The graph below shows how the levels of GP appointments massively dropped in 2020.

(Image Source: Twitter)

There will still be a large number of patients who will need to see their doctors face to face and receive treatment that is simply not possible to do any other way. But the new technology does demonstrate solutions for current and future problems. 

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