Sensor and app turn smartphone into medical device
March 13, 2018
Swiss company Leman Micro Devices (LMD) has developed a sensor and app that it says will let smartphones be used for medically accurate patient self-measurement of vital signs.
The V-Sensor and app integrated with smartphones will assist diagnosis by physicians and could drive growth in remote medical consultation services by letting patients self-measure their own vital signs with medical accuracy for online appointments with doctors.
Remote medical consultation services are already showing significant growth around the globe: people in developed countries often cannot find the time to visit doctors during medical centre working hours and appreciate the convenience and reassurance of being able to speak to a doctor round the clock; people in less developed nations can experience extreme difficulties in accessing face-to-face medical services due to distance, lack of transport infrastructure and other factors.
With more than seven billion mobile devices in use worldwide, mobile phones are now bringing widespread access to remote healthcare services to people no matter where they live.
Doctors conducting appointments remotely have had, until now, to rely on patients’ description of their symptoms, plus observation of what they can see using the phone’s camera. Now, the essential addition of hard diagnostic data can be provided by the sensor and app.
Integrated with smartphones, the sensor and app let patients measure their own blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygen level (SpO2) and body temperature with medical accuracy and share the information from these five vital signs with their doctor during the remote consultation, facilitating diagnosis.
No external devices are needed; the smartphone provides the complete device when equipped with a V-Sensor, which uses the established Riva-Rocci technique to measure blood pressure. However, instead of having a cuff on their arm, the user simply presses their index finger against LMD’s V-Sensor on the side of the smartphone. The app ensures the correct range of pressures is applied and gives an accurate reading in around 60 seconds, without needing any additional accessories or equipment.
A thermopile is also built into the sensor module for non-contact body temperature measurement and other built-in features allow all five vital signs to be measured by the patient in less than 60 seconds, without any extra accessories and all to medical accuracy.
“Smartphones with LMD’s V-Sensor and app make valuable additional information which is medically accurate and available to doctors exactly when they need it,” said Tom Foley, an expert in remote healthcare. “A smartphone with integrated V-Sensor and app also enables patients to check their vital signs regularly with results automatically collected and archived, and these too can be shared during online telehealth consultations, perfect for accurately monitoring on-going health conditions and for chronic care.”
Founded in 2010, LMD is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the heart of the Health Valley and close to EPFL University and major phone sensor companies. Funded by business angels, venture capital and two players in the smartphone sector, the ISO 13485 certified company’s first product is this sensor and software combination that measures blood pressure and other vital signs to medical accuracy using a smartphone.
The V-Sensor health sensor and app is expected to garner international regulatory body approvals this year, opening up the market for enhanced remote medical services.