Doctors Can Now Check EKGs On Smartphones

A new iPhone system lets doctors check electrocardiographic records with their smartphones, as the medical tools flooding the mobile market become more and more sophisticated.

Researchers at Japan’s Ohashi Clinic in the Medical centre of Toho University, along with The Medical Bank Corp., report developing the first-ever mobile EKG-reading system. Servers at the clinic store patients’ EKG records, which smartphone-wielding doctors can access electronically, rather than waiting for blurry, printed paper copies.

The system’s creators say it enables doctors to better communicate with patients, make quick judgment calls and even manipulate the electronic data as needed.

While no other such elaborate medial system exists for smartphone use as yet, there are plenty of apps on offer for doctors and healthcare professionals that are revolutionizing healthcare. The FDA-approved Mobile MIM allows doctors to view and send patient CT, MRI and PET scans across a secure network. Mobile MD lets physicians see and manipulate brain scans on the fly, lending precious minutes to those having a stroke or other such emergency.

Smartphone apps may soon play a role in clinical drug trials too, as the FDA recently approved a mobile and online test for the bladder-control medication Detrol. Instead of routinely visiting a physical clinic, participants can track symptoms and journal about their experiences online.

Programs like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are encouraging people to develop medical smartphone apps for use in third-world countries. There are apps now that detect malaria and dengue fever, besides monitoring blood pressure, heart rate and glucose levels. And former Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin just created Startup Health to support entrepreneurs in their medical app-making ventures.

As more and more medical apps and tools hit the mobile market, the FDA has promised to closely monitor and possibly regulate these various programs to ensure quality control. It will have many such programs to sift through if complete systems like Ohashi’s begin to sprout up in the medical field.

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