Ever since the invention of the “smart” cellular device, users have wondered where the boundaries would end and the ultimate capability of one such smartphone: the iPhone. A recently announced innovation has just expanded those barriers a little farther. The new iPhoneECG is an iPhone case that connects to the device and allows users to obtain an instantaneous ECG or electrocardiogram in the palm of their hands. The following article will discuss the new innovation and its implications in the medical field
The iPhoneECG is a case that attaches to the iPhone device and plugs into its 32 pin connector at the bottom seamlessly while doubling as a phone case. The device has two electrodes on the case where a user places their index fingers in order to conduct the electrical rhythms to the onboard smart phone app. The device can also be held up directly to the chest as instructed in the application in order to also obtain an ECG. While this seems like just another piece of gadgetry hitting the blogospheres, this innovation paves the way to a whole new line of at home medical products.
The implications of this device are twofold: one, a device that can allow patients with cardiac issues to have an instantaneous visual communication with their care provider, and two, a way for individuals to be more aware of their own health concerns.
The former issue would be vital to providing real-time information to care providers while a patient is having, or things they are having a cardiac event. The ECG would immediately be transmitted to the care provider or facility, and the analysis of the patient can begin prior to the arrival of the patient. The application could also steer a physician or care provider in determining what is acute versus what may be something that can wait until a later time.
While the device does educate the user far more than they previously may have known about a condition; it comes with cautions. With an application on board that interprets ECG tracings, medical information can be falsely interpreted by an untrained individual. The outcome of such a maneuver leads to either a false sense of security or a frantic interpretation of a possibly normal or abnormal tracing.
For the previous reasons, the FDA has been careful in certifying this device for use. Currently, the FDA is considering the device for use by medical professionals only due to necessity for interpretation by trained professionals.
It is clear that innovations like the iPhoneECG and similar items in the medical field may eventually open a whole new frontier into the practice of telemedicine.