An application built for the smart phone may replace the stethoscope. Instant Heart Rate is a phone app invented by Peter Bentley, a researcher from University College London. The app allows medical practitioners and physicians to measure heartbeats through a smart phone.
French physician Rene Laennec invented the original stethoscope nearly 200 years ago and it now appears that it could become another extinct medical device.
Instant Heart Rate is available for the Android smart phone. It works by measuring the oxygen changes in the blood. Every heartbeat causes a change to the skin color from oxygen intake. The app uses the camera to track and calculate the changes to reflect the heart rate.
The app has almost 3 million downloads since the free version was released last week. It has reached downloads of over 500 times a day.
Medical and software experts say the software is a major advance in medical technology that can enable doctors practicing in remote areas to get additional information.
The sudden development and availability of medical apps have caused government officials to think of new regulations to ensure digitally shared information is accurate.
The FDA and other regulatory agencies do not have policies to deal with the proliferation of mobile computing devices and their potential uses in medicine. The application is not classified as a medical device.