Lionsgate Technologies Inc. (LGTmedical), a leading provider of mobile health (mHealth) technology, will launch a revolutionary universal interface that transforms smartphones, tablets and laptops into mobile medical diagnostic tools capable of real-time vital signs monitoring.
Using standard medical sensors connected directly through the universal audio port of virtually any mobile device, the proprietary interface, called the Vital Signs DSP™ (Digital Signal Processor), provides precise monitoring of blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and body temperature which are displayed on the mobile device's monitor.
The availability of an accurate, affordable mobile medical diagnostic tool has sweeping applications in the medical/clinical and consumer markets as well as in the developing world where 64 per cent of mobile phone users are found.
"Pairing medical diagnostics with mobile phones will greatly advance the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of critical diseases in developing countries," said Dr. Mark Ansermino, Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, at the University of British Columbia (UBC), whose team developed the technology. "The availability of portable, easy-to-use and affordable mobile health monitoring technology will move medical diagnostics from the hospital to non-hospital settings, helping reduce global health inequities and improving health outcomes worldwide."
LGTmedical's technology, which includes applications for pulse oximetry, temperature and blood pressure monitoring, requires no external signal processors, microcontrollers, power sources or displays. Users just download a proprietary app that allows their mobile device to drive a low-cost standard medical sensor.
The company plans to launch its flagship product, the Phone Oximeter™, into clinical markets in 2013, with blood pressure and temperature applications to follow. This new technology platform supports ultra-low cost product design, which will make these applications affordable for everyone. LGTmedical's mHealth devices are expected to cost between $10 and $40, which is significantly less than competing products on the market today.
The Phone Oximeter™ will enable mobile devices to provide non-invasive measurements of blood oxygen levels. After downloading the app, a standard medical sensor attached to the patient's finger is connected to the audio port of any phone, tablet or laptop. The sensor detects concentrations of oxygen in the blood and displays the readings in colorful symbols on the mobile device's monitor making pulse oximetry easy to use and accessible.
The World Health Organization recognizes the importance of making pulse oximetry available and affordable to the developing world. The diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases like pneumonia, which claims the lives of two million children under five years of age every year, can be greatly enhanced by affordable pulse oximetry. There are also large consumer market for mHealth vital signs applications in the areas of chronic disease management, personal care management, sleep apnea and fitness.
Driven by the explosive growth of mobile phones and tablets and the pressing need to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, the global mHealth market is projected to reach US$ 23 billion by 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mobile monitoring services will account for the largest share of the global market (approximately 65 per cent), expected to reach US$ 15 billion in 2017.
"Mobile vital signs technology will serve as a valuable tool in assisting with medical diagnosis, decision support, chronic disease management and patient engagement in the coming years,"said Tom Walker, President and CEO of LGTmedical. "We are proud of our innovations which mark a significant shift in the evolution of mHealth. From headphones to healthcare, making affordable health monitoring tools available to clinicians and consumers will help improve the quality of care, save lives and reduce healthcare costs."
The Vital Signs DSP™ technology was developed by a research team at the University of British Columbia, the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) and BC Children's Hospital known as Electrical & Computer Engineering in Medicine (ECEM). Dr. Mark Ansermino and Guy Dumont, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC and a CFRI Scientist, who led the team, received the prestigious Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada in 2010 for their work on the Phone Oximeter™.
R&D and field testing of the Phone Oximeter™ has been conducted in both North America and emerging markets, such as Uganda, through the generous support of UBC, BC Children's Hospital, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and other sponsoring foundations and government agencies.