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10 June 2016

Phone App that Can Detect Heart Attack a Week Out Considered by NHS

Smartphone apps could revolutionise personalised
healthcare.  Credit:  Telegraph
Phone app that can detect heart attack a week out considered by NHS
by Henry Bodkin, The Telegraph, 9 June 2016

A smartphone app that can tell if users are in danger of having a heart attack by the tone of their voice is being considered for use by the NHS.

Clinical trials of the software showed it accurately predicted admission to hospital for people with congestive cardiac failure one week before they were taken gravely ill.

The app is one of a wealth of gadgets and systems under review by the health service with the aim of revolutionising personalised healthcare.

Others include peak flow meters that can be plugged into a smartphone so asthma sufferers can keep track of their condition, and wifi-connected wrist bands that can measure blood pressure 200,000 times a day.

Professor Tony Young, NHS England Clinical Director for Innovation, told the Cheltenham Science Festival the voice-monitoring app, Cordio, was “one of the most brilliant things” he had seen.

“It is an app that runs in the background on your mobile phone and while you are talking on it, it analyses changes in the tone of your voice,” he said.

“Their first clinical trial looked at patients with congestive heart failure – fluid on the lungs that builds up gradually – and what they’ve shown is that changes in the tone of your voice can predict admission to the hospital with an exacerbation, a congestive cardiac failure, one week in advance of it happening.

“You can ring your mum up and say ‘Mum, how are you?’ and she says ‘I’m fine’, but you look at your phone and the app says she needs to take another 20mg of heart medicine.

“It’s unbelievable.”

Professor Young, also a consultant neurologist at Southend Hospital, said systems that allowed individual patients and their families to monitor and treat conditions would be crucial to caring for an ageing population with more chronic diseases.

“What’s happening now is totally disruptive, and I think what we’re going to see over the next five to ten years is that doctors are no longer going to be the gatekeepers of healthcare they have been,” he said.

Professor Young, also a consultant neurologist at Southend Hospital, said systems that allowed individual patients and their families to monitor and treat conditions would be crucial to caring for an ageing population with more chronic diseases.

“What’s happening now is totally disruptive, and I think what we’re going to see over the next five to ten years is that doctors are no longer going to be the gatekeepers of healthcare they have been,” he said.

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