updated 08:05 pm EDT, Mon April 4, 2011
Doctors can monitor, diagnose patients remotely
GE Healthcare and Airstrip Technologies have developed an application for iOS devices that can make a continuous flow of electrocardiograph (ECG) data from a patient sent directly from hospitals or EMS units like ambulances available to doctors no matter where they are. Using Airstrip Cardiology (free), clinical information from 12- and 15-lead ECG machines can be read, zoomed in, and checked again previous tests in near real-time.
Previously, remote physicians had to view static panned images due to the possibility of distortion when zooming. The iOS devices can handle resolutions that can detect changes as small as 0.5 millimeters -- enough to indicate a serious or emergency heart change. A remote cardiologist might use the apps to measure ECG waveforms, and advise on-site clinicians on treatment options. The system is already in use at Cedar-Sinai hospital and the Texas Healthcare System, with more hospitals and systems being added soon.
The database of ECGs holds previous tests of up to one year in age, and in increments as small as 10 seconds. The basic technology of the apps is highlighted in Apple's latest commercial for the iPad 2, We Believe. With smartphone penetration of the physician market now reaching 94 percent, apps that can access live medical information both reduce costs and save time. The company also makes a similar app for
To use the apps, the hospitals purchase Airstrip Cardiology technology through GE Healthcare, which links to GE's own MUSE cardiology information system. The information is securely transmitted and decrypted in a cloud-based stream rather than residing on the mobile device. The app works with a large number of different brands of ECG machines and allows comparing readings from difference ECG machines.
The app requires iOS 4.2 or higher. The company also makes another patient-monitoring app that works with a single individual but gives readings from a variety of other devices, such as blood pressure temperature readings.