"It's very easy to use," Burt said. "You hold it over the EKG tracing, you snap a picture." Hitting a button sends the image. When it's finished, the app shakes and makes noise to alert senders to the successful transmission.
"It's very simple but we want it to be very rugged, so that it's kind of like a hammer -- it always works," he said. He also wants to offer the app at no cost to doctors and hospitals.
So far, Burt said, they have tested the app more than 1,500 times using different wireless carriers in a city.
They also have pitted the app against the alternative method of using an iPhone to email a picture. In that study, the app consistently sent images within four to six seconds. Emailed images could take nearly two minutes to go through. The app failed less than 1 percent of the time, while the emailed images flopped between 3 percent and 71 percent of the time, according to the study.
The study is scheduled for presentation Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Baltimore. Studies presented at medical conferences are considered preliminary because they haven't yet undergone the scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Dr. Iltifat Husain, founder of the iMedicalApps website, which keeps up with news about technology in medicine, said he was impressed by the app, but also by how thoroughly the team has been testing it. Husain estimates that less than 1 percent of apps that are developed for doctors are field tested to see if they actually work.
"Something like this would have to be tested before it was put to use because of how critical the information is that you're relaying," said Husain, who was not involved in the research.
Husain, who also is an emergency medicine resident at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said the time the app shaves off image transmission could be crit
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