Korean Tech Startup Can Measure Blood Pressure Using Phone Camera

Source: medica-tradefair.com

Patients have seen over the years how the combination of healthcare and technology allows for better management of their health.  Today’s wearables can track an individual’s heart rate, calorie intake, exercise regiment and more; each year brings a new tool that makes it easier for patients to monitor their health.  Now, a startup Korean tech company has announced it has developed a way for individuals to measure blood pressure readings using the camera of an ordinary smartphone.

Source: m.koreaherald.com

Deep Medi Develops a New Way to Measure Blood Pressure

Usually, a patient would have their blood pressure measured by having a health checkup where a nurse straps a pressure cuff to your arm and after it tightens and eventually releases, you will get your pressure reading.  Another option is to buy a device that can measure blood pressure that can be utilized at home; however, new advancements in analytic techniques and digital health technologies have paved the way for a new way to take a blood pressure measurement using a smart phone’s camera and a mobile app.

According to a recent article that appeared in The Korea Herald, Deep Medi, based in Seoul, is getting ready to utilize software and launch it as a mobile app that will have the ability to measure the blood pressure of an individual through the use of a phone’s camera.  Once the app is opened, the user needs only to lace their finger on the lens of the camera, hold in place for one minute and look at the level of your blood pressure.

While the steps are easily to follow, the opposite an be said regarding the underlying software, which is more complex.  The app requires the camera to illuminate the user’s skin as it measures changes in the absorption of light; the skin tone undergoes slightly noticeable changes that depends on the amount of blood that gets circulated with each heartbeat.

Based on what was said by the firm’s CEO Lee Kwang-jin, Deep Medi’s software can accomplish its task without the use of a high-resolution camera.  Based on the startup’s internal testing, it has proven to be compatible with smartphones designed as early as 2016.  Presently, the firm has reported that their solution for measuring blood pressure meets the requirement accuracy for diastolic blood pressure while working to increase systolic blood pressure accuracy reading before attempting designation for a medical device from health regulators within Korea and beyond.

During a recent interview with The Korea Herald, Lee said that, “Until now, the conventional method of measuring blood pressure levels is to use an inflatable cuff around the arm that tightens and releases the artery to determine blood pressure levels.  Such procedures had been confined to hospitals, as few people own blood pressure monitors at home. But our app would change this situation by enabling measurements to be made by anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Deep Medi Claims to be the First

The idea of using the camera lens of a smartphone in tracking an indicator of health is nothing new, as there are currently a wide variety of free apps that does this to measure heart rates.  Yet, the tech company claims to be the first with regards to successfully develop algorithms that can deduce blood pressure accurately by utilizing a stand smartphone’s camera as well as to start data accumulation on a large-scale.

Deep Medi feels that their app will have several uses on a commercial level.  While the primary use will be as a maintenance tool to measure blood pressure, the records it accumulates can be utilized by doctors to determine a diagnosis as well as tracking a patients’ status more closely.

Source: blog.lifesciencenation.com

Clinical data is being collected independently and in a partnership with the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and Yonsei University’s Gangnam Severance Hospital.  Once enough information is gathered, Medi is planning on getting their software approved by regulators as a medical device that includes Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Also, the tech startup is looking toward Europe’s CE mark certification of medical devices.  Once approvals are given, the hope is to have the app commercialized abroad in major markets.