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Targeting Doctors with the iStethoscope

An iPhone application has come to market that is rapidly gaining popularity with physicians – and providing marketers with another channel to reach medical professionals. The iStethoscope turns the iPhone into a, as the name suggests, stethoscope, allowing the doctor to listen to a heartbeat and see the heart waveform. The free app is ad-supported. There is also a professional version that is ad-free, called iStethoscope Pro.

Developed in collaboration with cardiologist researchers, the app is simple to use: the doctor presses it to the patient's chest while using good-quality headphones (heart sounds are too deep to hear using the ubiquitous white ones that come with Apple devices). After listening, the doctor can shake the iPhone to hear the last 8 seconds and see a phonocardiograph display and a spectrogram. The audio and the spectrogram image can then be e-mailed. There have been some 500 apps downloaded ever since the free version was introduced in mid-August, according to its inventor Peter Bentley (via the Telegraph).

Sensor Sensitive

"Everybody is very excited about the potential of the adoption of mobile phone technology into the medical workplace, and rightly so," said Bentley. "Smartphones are incredibly powerful devices packed full of sensors, cameras, high-quality microphones with amazing displays," he said. In fact, there have been more than a handful of apps that take advantage of the iPhone's high-end mobile phone technology to deliver unusual or unique capabilities. Another health app is being developed by American and Australian scientists that can diagnose whether a patient has a cold, flu, pneumonia or other respiratory disease after he or she coughs into the device, according to another article in the Telegraph.

The software would compare the patient's cough to a pre-recorded database of coughs: these include coughs of people with all respiratory diseases, in both genders, and various ages, weights and other variables.

Another example is PocketHeat, an app that keeps your hands warm, which works by making the iPhone max out 100% of its power processing capacity, according to TUAW. A slider adjusts the temperature and illuminates the "heating elements."

Then there is the iBreath, which while not an app but rather an accessory for the iPod that transmits music from a car radio, can be used as a portable breathalyzer test, writes MacNewsWorld. A driver blows into the attached tube to get a measurement of blood alcohol content (BAC) that measures accurately to within 0.01 percent BAC with a maximum limit of 0.12.

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