Life-saving selfie app tested by 8,500 people at Portsmouth hospital 'will benefit millions'

MILLIONS of patients are set to benefit from possibly life-saving selfie app that can measure a patient's blood pressure and heart rate after it was tested in the city.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 8:26 am
A youngster using the Lifelight app to get his vital signs checked. Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Researchers at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham carried out a study on 8,585 patients and staff using the Lifelight app.

Using a selfie taken on a smartphone, and the ambient light that bounces off the skin, the app carries out calculations and tells the user the resulting rates.

Among the hundreds of people who took part in the Vision-D project, 1,295 were diagnosed with previously unidentified high blood pressure during what was the largest digital physiological study in history.

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A youngster using the Lifelight app to get his vital signs checked. Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Developer Xim has brought the technology’s accuracy in line with current NHS equipment. It also measures a person’s respiratory rate.

Hopes are high it will win approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - paving the way for it to be used by health care providers and patients.

QA facilities manager Stuart Burnham, 39, used the app and found he had high blood pressure measurement in the 200s. Anything between 90-120 is considered normal, charity Blood Pressure UK advise.

Mr Burnham said: ‘I think it’s a fantastic piece of technology.

From left, Laurence Pearce, CEO of Xim; Sharon McCready, trust lead research nurse; Emily Heiden, research fellow; Professor Anoop Chauchan, director of research and Mark Cubbon, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘From my diagnosis we were able to learn that my blood pressure could be lowered by focusing on my lifestyle and work/life balance.’

In the meantime, the app is undergoing further tests at the University of Portsmouth.

Professor Anoop Chauhan, director of research at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘This study was about whether a phone could collect enough information to accurately tell us about a patient’s vital signs.

‘As a result of patients simply taking a photo, we’ve been able to do that and discover problems that people previously didn’t know about.’

Laurence Pierce, chief executive of Xim, said the app could be ‘game-changing’ for health care, and hopes it may one day even be able to diagnose arterial stiffness and pulse transit time.

Trust chief executive Mark Cubbon described the technology yesterday as ‘fascinating’.

‘This could soon be available to millions of hospital patients,’ he said.

‘That’s all down to the staff here at QA who have put so much work into the study.’