With the help of their smartphones, patients suffering from chronic cardiopulmonary diseases could soon be able to accurately monitor their health and also alert doctors at the first sign of trouble.
A new health-tracking app, named MoveSense, can monitor a patient's oxygen saturation level if he is carrying his smartphone along. This new capability will allow medical professionals to monitor the patients' vital signs, predict their clinical stability, and act quickly should their condition decline.
Patients need to just carry their personal phones during daily living, as testing has shown that periodic samples are sufficient and that even inexpensive smartphones are powerful enough to record these. The ability to accurately measure oxygen saturation without the use of a pulse oximeter is something that has never been achieved, until now.
"The oximeter, a non-invasive medical device usually placed on the patient's finger, measures the proportion of oxygen in the blood, combining status of the two major circulatory systems, the heart and the lung," said lead researcher Bruce Schatz from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "The saturation level is an overall measure of the patient's cardiopulmonary fitness," Schatz added.
This medical discovery was made with the aid of findings from one of Schatz's previous discoveries that revealed phone sensors can accurately measure walking patterns, also known as gait. Doctors often use an assessment called the six-minute walk test for patients with heart and lung disease, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. The researchers discovered that analysis of the saturation, combined with the gait data, could predict saturation category with 100 percent accuracy.