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.
This new and advanced technology will go a long way in
better diagnosing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases in children.
"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
A non-study version of the app is available online free of cost.
The study featured in the journal PLOS One.