Time for a check up? Get out your iPhone.

Future iPhone app to deliver mobile heart tests; finding veins without needles; and how to design the perfect hospital crash cart.

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Designing Medical Devices

Today, we're looking into new technology in the healthcare market. There is a new a small portable device that locates veins. This non-invasive method of locating veins reduces the common problem of a nurse sticking you multiple times before finding the vein. A nurse can use the device by holding over the skin. The veins are instantly highlighted and appear clearly on the surface. Infrared technology detects the veins. Hemoglobin, a protein found in blood, absorbs the infrared light, so the veins show up as dark lines on the otherwise red patch of skin. This great piece of engineering work will surely improve the (getting a needle÷ experience for both the patient and the healthcare practitioner.

Fans of the iPhone claim it can do just about anything. But what about a patient who wants an electrocardiogram recorded from the comfort of his home? Yes, there's an app for that. Dr. David Albert at AliveCor has just developed a new application for the iPhone 4 that allows users to measure the heart's electrical activity. AliveCor believes that this app will produce the same quality measurement and analysis as standard hospital electrocardiogram (or ECG) monitors. The application requires a special iPhone case that has two metal electrodes on the back. The electrodes allow the iPhone to record cardiac events in the same way that a hospital ECG device would. You can measure your ECG either by holding the iPhone in your hands or by placing the electrodes directly on your chest. The iPhone can store an image of the ECG and send a PDF file to the user's doctor for analysis. The AliveECG app isn't available for sale yet. It still has to be tested in clinical trials and approved as a medical device by the FDA

More and more tech-savvy people are switching to tablet and mobile devices, but for people with severe physical disabilities, ordinary touch-screen gadgets are nearly impossible to use. But now, engineering students at the University of Michigan have developed an iPad app for physically disabled users. It has a sequencing interface rather than buttons and boxes. Chelsea LeBlanc, an engineering student, explains.

At Livengood Engineering in Colorado , engineers are designing platforms that organize a patient's IV bags, tubes, pumps, oxygen and electronic monitors into one convenient space-saving device. These platforms give patients, health care workers and visitors more space by removing all the individual pieces of equipment that were previously attached to walls or beds.