Smartphone apps could be used to provide low-cost monitoring of heart disease and stroke risks, according to new research.

Innovators Magazine reported last month a mobile app developed by a Finnish university which will enable smartphone users to monitor their risk of having a stroke.

And now results of a recent trial published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provide details of how an app working in tandem with a smartphone camera can outperform a traditional physical exam in gauging ‘blood flow in a wrist artery’ in ‘patients undergoing coronary angiography’. In trials, the smartphone app achieved a diagnostic accuracy of 94%, compared to 84% for the Allen test, the commonly used physical exam.

“The current report highlights that a smartphone application can outperform the current standard of care and provide incremental diagnostic yield in clinical practice,” said Dr Benjamin Hibbert of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.