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Powerful platform for mobile health apps now available as open source software

October 09, 2013
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Researchers at CFRI, BC Children’s Hospital and UBC have released a platform for new and novel mobile health applications as open source software.

LambdaNative was initially created in 2009 by the Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team (PART) and the Electrical & Computer Engineering in Medicine (ECEM) research group to support the development of mobile phone applications to improve diagnosis, monitoring, and patient care everywhere from hospital operating rooms to remote areas of developing countries.

To date, it has been used to develop over 45 applications. Highlights include:

  • The Phone Oximeter, which uses inexpensive and widely-available mobile phone technology to measure blood oxygen levels to improve diagnosis and care for patients in areas with limited health care resources.

    Research is currently underway into the use of this app to provide decision support for the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia, the number one killer of children under five globally. The PIERS on the Move project, led by Dr. Peter von Dadelszen, is using the Phone Oximeter to inform diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening type of hypertension that can arise during pregnancy.

  • The telePORT monitoring and message device, which improves communication between anaesthesia team members through real-time display of patient data, person-to-person chat, reminders, and quick access to key contacts.

  • The iControl anesthesia controller, an automated drug delivery system that uses data from monitoring equipment in the operating room to provide patients with the optimal amount of anesthetic drugs during surgery.

    If not enough medication is administered, the patient could wake up or move during surgery, and if too much is given, the patient could experience complications such as very low blood pressure or prolonged recovery.
These mobile health apps have been used in more than 10 clinical studies and clinical trials involving over 10,000 participants in Canada, France, India, Uganda, Bangladesh, and South Africa. The research team, led by Dr. Mark Ansermino and Dr. Guy Dumont, released the software as open source earlier this year to enable other research teams to build their own tools using this platform. 

Researchers hope that sharing the software will lead to new functionality and new opportunities for collaboration. The software has already benefited from the feedback of outside groups who identified bugs and proposed improvements.

Dr. Chris Petersen, the director of technology development with PART and the lead developer of LambdaNative, presented at the 18th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming in September. 

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