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Times of India
01 September 2010
London, UK

The iPhone could soon replace the doctors’ best friend, the stethoscope, thanks to a free application created by a University College London researcher.

Peter Bentley invented the "iStethoscope" application which monitors heartbeat through sensors in the iPhone as just a bit of fun. And, more than three million doctors across the world are signing up for the free application.

"Everybody is very excited about the potential of the adoption of mobile phone technology into the medical workplace, and rightly so. Smartphones are incredibly powerful devices packed full of sensors, cameras, high–quality microphones with amazing displays.

"They are capable of saving lives, saving money and improving healthcare in a dramatic fashion, and we carry these massively powerful computers in our pockets," the British media quoted Bentley as saying.

While he said that he had originally invented it as a fun toy, experts in the medical field have said the software is a major advance in medical technology which has saved lives and enabled doctors in remote areas to access expertise.

In fact, in the future, it could be possible for people to conduct their own ultrasounds or monitor blood pressure through smartphones, say the experts.

More than 3 million doctors have downloaded the application which turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope.

Bentley’s iStethoscope application is not the only mobile phone programme lightening doctors’ bags and transforming their practices: there are nearly 6,000 applications related to health in the Apple App Store. The uptake has been rapid. In late 2009, two–thirds of doctors and 42% of the public were using smartphones – in effect inexpensive handheld computers – for personal and professional reasons. More than 80% of doctors said they expected to own a smartphone by 2012.
The trend looks likely to gain pace as younger doctors enter the workplace.

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