A new smartphone app has been developed to accurately
measure heart rate in children faster than any other equipment.
The app, RRate, works fine on both Apple and Android devices.
The University of British Columbia worked in conjunction with the Child and Family Research Institute at B.C. Children's Hospital to design this app which can measure heart rate in 9.9 seconds, almost 6 times lesser than the time taken by other methods of heart rate measurement.
"Mobile phones are changing how we administer health care, especially in rural settings and developing countries where access to medical devices is limited," said Dr Walter Karlen, who is a co-author of the study.
"With this app, we can give health care workers with few resources faster and more accurate measurements, help them make better decisions, and give them more time with their patients," Karlen added.
The standard manual method, currently in use by the healthcare staff, makes use of a stopwatch to count a patient's breaths.
For arriving at the study findings, the researchers used the data gathered from 30 test subjects who made use of the app while watching videos of children breathing at varied rates. Then, they derived an algorithm combining the capabilities of computing, touch screen and vibrational feedback of phones to enhance the app to make accurate measurements in the shortest possible time.
Of all diseases, pneumonia takes the lead in causing death among children globally according to World Health Organisation, and a much quicker and a more accurate diagnosis can work wonders by saving many lives with much simpler ways such as administration of antibiotics.
By just tapping the touch screen, healthcare workers can measure the heart rate every time a child breathes in.
The app displays an animation of a breathing baby for making direct comparisons.
A non-study version of the app is available online free of cost.
The study featured in the journal PLOS One.