Ten years ago, no one would have imagined that a smartphone could be useful in health care, but these devices have improved rapidly, with specifications and processing power increasing exponentially, and lending themselves to resilience and adaptability. Amazing advances have been made available for both iOS- and Android-powered smartphones recently that are capable of changing the landscape and our mindset regarding how we use technology to advance the diagnosis and prevention of many illnesses.
Currently, there are a variety of tools available for the diagnosis of many diseases, but only a few that capture “out-of-the-box” thinking. FotoFinder’s handyscope is one of these tools. It’s a hybrid of technology and software that transforms an iPhone 5 into a dermatoscope for dermatologists. Interestingly enough, the idea was born when the team at FotoFinder (originally part of the industrial sector) met a dermatology professor who pointed them in the direction of monitoring moles and improving skin cancer diagnostics.
The handyscope is a device into which the iPhone slides (similar to putting a case on a phone). Unlike traditional phone cases, the handyscope has several lenses providing zoom, auto-focus, and 20X optical magnification and is fed directly into the iPhone 5’s camera system. To assist with this, there is a twin light system that contains 6 white LEDs, combining the advantages of cross-polarized dermatoscopy and immersion fluid dermatoscopy with the press of a button. Combined with the software, which is a downloadable app from the iTunes store, the tool is powerful, mobile, and able to organize data per patient.
Another powerful resource tool, focusing on the cardiology sector and pushing the envelope for smartphone use, is from AliveCor. The AliveCor System, which includes a heart monitor, is a hybrid of hardware and software technologies that provides not only physicians and patients with ECG data, but can also be used on pets. The premise of this technology is to utilize your iOS or Android smartphone to record your own ECG, and within as little as 30 minutes, have it analyzed by a cardiac technician. The AliveCor system includes a free account that can connect patients to doctors, increasing convenience and improving control of their heart health. Previous ECG devices were bulky and uncomfortable, and required multiple visits to the doctor for follow-up. AliveCor seems to have transitioned from case-like ECG devices for the phone to pocket-sized wireless devices that work in conjunction with mobile devices.
In only a few short years, we have seen the medical and technology fields transform one another, each pushing the other across the boundaries of what we thought possible. The impact of this type of pioneering and engineering is sure to mean more resources and improved efficiencies, all adding up to a brighter technological future in medicine.
- AliveCor website. http://www.alivecor.com/home.
- AliveCorVet website. http://www.alivecorvet.com/.
- Handyscope. iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handyscope/id387895114?mt=8.
- Handyscope website. http://www.handyscope.net/en/device.html.
Krishnamurthy G. AliveCor launches new universal mobile heart monitor. MedGadget website.