Blog Tag: smartphone
The University of Washington announced that a team of researchers has developed a prothrombin time/international normalized ratio (PT/INR) blood clotting test that requires only a single drop of blood and a smartphone. According to the team’s February 11, 2022 paper published in Nature Communications, the test uses a tiny cup containing copper, and a blood clotting agent that is attached to the smartphone below the camera, as shown in the figure below from the paper.
After adding a drop of blood, the smartphone vibrates, causing the blood to react with copper and the agent to form a blood clot, all of which is observed and measured by the camera. A video of the device is here.
Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, is the process by which blood changes into a gel-like substance to prevent bleeding. Excessive blood clotting within blood vessels can restrict blood flow, leading to serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. Blood thinners can reduce clotting, but patients must have their blood tested frequently to ensure proper dosage, as too much or too little blood clotting can be life-threatening.
Shyam Gollakota, a University of Washington professor and co-author of the paper, stated:
Back in the day, doctors used to manually rock tubes of blood back and forth to monitor how long it took a clot to form. This, however, requires a lot of blood, making it infeasible to use in home settings. The creative leap we make here is that we’re showing that by using the vibration motor on a smartphone, our algorithms can do the same thing, except with a single drop of blood. And we get accuracy similar to the best commercially available techniques. … This is the best of all worlds — it’s basically the holy grail of PT/INR testing. It makes it frugal and accessible to millions of people, even where resources are very limited.
According to an Apple press release, iPhone users will now be able to store and view their medical records on their phones as part of a new feature found in iOS 11.3. Although many patients are already familiar with clinic-specific patient portals, Apple’s new Health Records feature is said to allow patients to download their medical records from a variety of hospitals and clinics, and consolidate those records on their iPhone.
According to Apple, the Health Records feature can be found in Apple’s Health app on updated devices. The Health Records feature allows participating hospitals and clinics to transfer medical information to a users device. The patient’s medical record data will be stored along with their own patient-generated data in the consolidated Health app. Users will be able to view recorded allergies, clinical vitals, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and similar information. Users will also be notified whenever their data is updated, such as when lab results are received.
Apple notes that in the past, patients’ medical records were held in multiple locations, requiring patients to log into each care provider’s website and piece together the information manually.
The press release notes that data within the Health Records feature will be encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode. Moreover, no health record data passes through Apple’s network. Instead, Apple relies on Fast Healthcare Interchangeability Resources (FHIR) and related application programming interfaces (APIs) to transmit the data from a hospital or clinic’s electronic health record (EHR) system directly to a user’s device over an encrypted connection.
As a result, Apple maintains that it does not create, transmit, or receive any protected health information for or on behalf of a covered entity or business associate. Nevertheless, if a user chooses to sync their health data with iCloud, the data will be encrypted in transit and for storage on Apple’s servers.
With the push to provide patients with their digital health information comes a push for FHIR, solidifying the technology’s viability as a solution to the federal mandate that providers allow patients to access electronic versions of their health records
Apple notes that at this time, around 40 hospitals and clinics are participating, including Johns Hopkins, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health, and Geisinger Health System.
According to the press release, Abbott produces the Confirm RxTM ICM, which is marketed as the slimmest ICM available. Pictured on the right, Abbott states that the Confirm RxTM is designed to continuously monitor a patient’s heart rhythm and proactively transmit information via the myMerlinTM mobile app, thereby allowing physicians to follow their patients remotely and accurately diagnose arrhythmias. As noted on the Confirm RxTM webpage, the ICM is placed by a physician under local anesthesia by making a small incision in the pectoral region, inserting the ICM under the skin using an insertion tool, and then closing the incision. “Patients can record symptoms directly on their smartphone without the need for a bedside transmitter or separate activator,” said Georg Nölker, M.D. in prepared remarks. Dr. Nölker was one of the first physicians to implant the Confirm Rx ICM after it received CE Mark approval.
According to Abbott, the myMerlinTM mobile app makes it easy for patients to stay connected to their physicians. A listing of the product features from the Confirm RxTM product website includes:
- Transmit nightly data reports automatically simply by being in range of the smartphone;
- Manually record patient symptoms on their own smartphone and specify events such as fainting or if they experience a fast heart rate;
- Confirm patient data was transmitted to their physician;
- Automatic alerts when they have missed a scheduled transmission;
- Offers secure transmission of patient data.
Mark D. Carlson, M.D., chief medical officer of Abbott’s cardiac arrhythmias and neuromodulation businesses, views these results as a step forward in ICM technology, stating:
Incorporating wireless technology directly into our devices enhances the quality of remote monitoring and patient compliance…The Confirm Rx ICM addresses a broad range of indications, such as syncope, palpitations and atrial fibrillation. The technology has been designed with robust data privacy and security measures to ensure peace of mind for both patients and providers.
Dr. Christopher Piorkowski, said to be one of the first physicians to implant the Confirm RxTM ICM, stated:
The Confirm Rx ICM will be particularly useful in monitoring for atrial fibrillation in my patients with paroxysmal AF, following AF ablation and with stroke of an unknown cause. It allows an objective way to quantify AF events to guide treatment decisions. The smartphone compatibility engages patients and allows better compliance to remote monitoring through a simple and intuitive user interface. This allows clinic staff to reduce follow-up burden and focus on reviewing transmitted data for AF.
As reported by the press release, the Confirm RxTM ICM is available in select European countries, with full European release expected during the second quarter of 2017. It further states that the device is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.