QMED -$40 Add-on Turns Smartphone into an Oximeter
(ENP Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ENP Newswire - 20 May 2014
Release date- 16052014 - The Phone Oximeter is a smartphone app developed by two British Columbia scientists as an affordable solution for the measurement of oxygen levels in the blood, an important early warning sign for pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, and for pneumonia.
'We are building predictive health care,' Mark Ansermino told the Vancouver Sun's Gillian Shaw. Ansermino, who is director of research for pediatric anesthesia at the British Columbia Children's Hospital (BCCH) and associate professor in the University of British Columbia (UBC)'s department of anesthesia, developed the Phone Oximeter with Guy Dumont, UBC professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Standard pulse oximeters can cost more than $1000 and are usually only found in hospitals and doctor's offices. The Phone Oximeter, which uses a standard add-on device that clamps on a patient's finger to measure blood oxygen levels, costs about $40. Additional functionality under development for the Phone Oximeter includes blood pressure and temperature monitoring.
To commercialize their invention, Ansermino and Dumont started LionsGate Technologies and subsidiary LGTmedical as a spinoff from UBC, BCCH, and the Child & Family Research Institute. In February 2012, LGTmedical received a $2 million Rising Stars in Global Health Grant Award from the Canadian federal government through its Grand Challenges Canada program. In April of the same year, the Phone Oximeter received Health Canada approval for an investigational trial, which was conducted in India, Pakistan, Mozambique and Nigeria.
The company calls its enabling technology the Vital Signs DSP (Digital Signal Processor). Through its audio-based interface, the Vital Signs DSP connects standard medical sensors directly though the audio port (headset jack) of virtually any mobile device, allowing for ultra-low-cost vital signs monitoring. The Vital Signs DSP leverages the computing and display functions of mobile phones, tablets and laptops, thus making vital signs monitoring available to healthcare workers and consumers for a fraction of the price of current equipment.
According to LionsGate Technologies' website, 'This mHealth innovation leverages the global availability of mobile devices and will catapult the assessment and management of diseases from the hospital into non-hospital settings.'
'The technology has been extremely well received because it is a fully functioning, best-in-class oximeter at a lower price point,' Tom Walker, president and CEO of LGTmedical, told Shaw. 'We're able to bring a lot more functionality for less cost - in some cases we're only 20 per cent the price of comparable devices.'
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