The iStethescope app for the iphone created by Peter Bentley,enables a user to hold the iPhone against their chest to monitor cardiac activity using the inbuilt microphone.Shaking the iPhone after that brings  up a graphic of the last eight seconds recorded,which  represents  their heart beat in the form of a waveform and can also be emailed to a doctor.

A researcher at Universtity College London,Peter says, “smartphones are capable of saving lives,saving money and improving health care in a dramatic fashion”.He also claims that in future thay could turn into “fully fledged integrated designs capable of taking ultra sound scanners or monitor  a patients blood pressure”.

The developers of the iStethescope app recommended using the inbuilt microphone of the iPhone and placing it directly on the chest(with no clothes) because “heart sounds are often too deeo to hear”.

 On the other hand,Dr Tim Ringrose,Medical Director at Doctors.net.uk thinks that the iStethescope is not ready to replace the traditional stethoscope yet.He says . “The best thing about it is that it helps doctors explain what the sounds mean to heir patients in an easy way,as the graphic makes it clear.However it doesn’t do all things a stethoscope does.It seems to have difficulties picking up breath sounds which means it could be difficult to detect lung diseases such as pneumonia”.

The iStethescope is currently available for $0.99 on the app store and is said to be downloaded at the rate of 500 apps a day.  Bentley introduced a free version of the app, which is being downloaded by more than 500 users a day. Experts say the software, a major advance in medical technology, has saved lives and enabled doctors in remote areas to access specialist expertise

“Everybody is very excited about the potential of the adoption of mobile phone technology into the medical workplace, and rightly so,”  said Bentley, who initially developed the app “as a fun toy”.

“Smartphones are incredibly powerful devices packed full of sensors, cameras, high-quality microphones with amazing displays,” he said. “They are capable of saving lives, saving money and improving healthcare in a dramatic fashion – and we carry these massively powerful computers in our pockets.”

Bentley’s iStethoscope application is not the only mobile phone programme lightening doctors’ bags and transforming their practices: there are nearly 6,000 applications related to health in the Apple App Store. The uptake has been rapid. In late 2009, two-thirds of doctors and 42% of the public were using smartphones – in effect inexpensive handheld computers – for personal and professional reasons. More than 80% of doctors said they expected to own a smartphone by 2012.

Peter Bentley of UCL, who created the iPhone stethoscope app.

The trend looks likely to gain pace as younger doctors enter the workplace. Some medical schools issue students with smartphones. In America, Georgetown University, the University of Louisville and Ohio State University are among those requiring undergraduates to use one.

source: guardian.co.uk,wythtech.posterous.com

Posted By

Sumanth(MGIT 2nd YEAR)

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