Even before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a seismic shift to more and ever diverse online experiences, people were increasingly turning to telehealth. Today, telehealth services are an indispensable aspect of healthcare worldwide, growing in popularity and getting more tech-savvy by the day. MFine’s introduction of a heart-monitoring tool on its app illustrates how the telehealth trend and smartphone technology are joining forces.
While heart-monitoring apps have been around for a few years now, their integration into a wider healthcare system is still a novel development. MFine, a leader in India’s digital health sector, uses mobile technology in conjunction with its online telemedicine consultations. India currently has about 600 million smartphone users, so there is a large potential market for the company’s services, even in rural areas that are traditionally underserved when it comes to healthcare.
At-home heart monitoring replaces what a doctor would have previously done in person with an electrocardiogram: check for rhythm disorders and arrhythmias. These heartbeat irregularities can be indications of increased risk of blood clots and possible strokes, just to name a few of the common heart-related issues. The health data on your heart that your phone collects could very well lead to the early diagnoses of a host of diseases.
Using a proprietary algorithm, MFine’s app relies on a smartphone’s camera to measure heart rates, focusing on a fingertip and gauging variations in blood volume under the skin. With every heartbeat, the blood that flows to a finger’s capillaries rises and falls; a camera can catch the change in light caused by the differing blood levels and the phone can calculate the heart rate. MFine says its calculations are 90% accurate.
The new heart-monitoring tool builds on MFine’s success with an oxygen-saturation-level monitoring tool that launched on its app in 2021. This smartphone-based SpO2 monitoring tool met a pressing need when at-home COVID monitoring became a valuable tool for many; low oxygen levels can be a sign that medical attention is required. But the tool’s use goes beyond the coronavirus. A variety of respiratory conditions, cardiovascular issues, and other health concerns can also have an impact on one’s blood oxygen levels.
Currently available for Android devices and heading to iOS soon, the free MFine: Your Healthcare App can also connect users to consultations — via video, audio call, or online chat — with cardiologists, among the many specialists on the telehealth platform. MFine intends to add the ability to measure glucose and blood pressure by the end of this year.