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Smartphones and tablets could provide universal access to medical monitoring
Date:9/23/2013

San Francisco, CA. -- Do you have a smartphone in your pocket or purse? If so, you may be carrying the future of mobile medical monitoring technology, according to a special article in the October issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

Smartphones and tablet computers have an emerging role as mobile medical monitoring devices -- and may help to extend the use of pulse oximetry for monitoring blood oxygen levels to developing countries around the world, according to the article by Dr J. Mark Ansermino of University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He writes, ""The widespread adoption of mobile devices, even in low-resource settings, promises to make vital signs monitoring available anywhere and at low cost."

Smartphones May Extend Availability of Pulse Oximetry

Today's mobile devices "have the computing capability, display, and battery power to become powerful medical devices that measure vital signs and provide intelligent interpretation or immediate transmission of information," according to Dr Ansermino. He notes that of the nearly six billion mobile phone users worldwide, two-thirds live in developing countries and remote areas.

In particular, mobile devices could increase access to pulse oximetry: the familiar "finger clip" device used to monitor blood oxygen levels (arterial oxygen saturation) during anesthesia and surgery, as well as other medical procedures. In developed countries, pulse oximetry has become so widely used that it has been called the "fifth vital sign" -- added to body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

But pulse oximetry is still not routinely available in many areas, because of the costs of purchasing, using, and maintaining the monitoring equipment. In those places, cell phones or tablet computers as monitors could provide an effective and economical approach to increasing the av
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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