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New technology developed by medical students allows physical examination using smartphones

by Paul Adepoju
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Medical students at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore and the University of Pennsylvania have developed an innovation that could give users a 10 minute physical examination. According to, the technology can check user’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as test for sexually transmitted infections.

The Smartphone Physical is one of the low-tech, relatively low-cost medical innovations showcased at an international health summit in Qatar.

“We empower the modern physician through mobile technology, and in the first demonstration of its kind, we’re showing that it matters. We put vital signs, instant heart rhythm checks (ECG), even high definition photos of the back of the eye in any clinician’s phone. The Smartphone Physical provides a unique glimpse into the future of the exam room,” developers posted on the innovation’s website.

They said: “The physical exam is a valuable and time-honored tool used by clinicians to gain clinically-relevant data about patients. In general, most head-to-toe exams can be divided into the following categories: vital signs, head and neck, pulmonary, cardiovascular, abdominal, musculoskeletal, and neurologic. The clinician’s ability to glean useful and actionable patient data has been augmented by technology, ranging from the relatively simple stethoscope for amplifying body sounds to the more complicated ophthalmoscope for diagnosing retinal problems.

“The Smartphone Physical hopes to provide a glimpse into the technologies that may ameliorate some of these issues with the traditional physical exam.”

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