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Hemoglobin Can Now be Measured Without Actually Drawing Blood

December 12, 2016 by Andrea



Over the past couple of years, we've kept you up-to-date on several new cell phone apps that benefit sickle cell warriors. There's one that makes recording and communicating pain events easier for consumers, and a similar one for hospitals, and there's an app that can diagnose and monitor SCD with a smaller sized blood sample and less money than typical methods.

And now, there's an app that can measure hemoglobin levels without even having to draw blood at all!

Much less expensive than the Masimo Pronto (another device that can measure hemoglobin noninvasively), the HemaApp, which was developed by scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle, works solely via cell phone. "By shining light from the phone’s camera flash through the patient’s finger, HemaApp analyzes the color of his or her blood to estimate hemoglobin concentrations," reports UW Today, a University of Washington publication. "HemaApp bombards a patient’s finger with different wavelengths of light and infrared energy and creates a series of videos. By analyzing how colors are absorbed and reflected across those wavelengths, it can detect concentrations of hemoglobin and other blood components like plasma."

And yes, the app works on all skin tones.

The article goes on to say that this new program isn't meant to make actual blood testing obsolete. It is, however, able to help determine whether or not a patient needs further testing without having to prick them first. So far during testing, the HemaApp found low hemoglobin levels with an accuracy rate of 79 percent using the phone's camera alone and 86 percent using the phone camera paired with additional light sources.

Furthermore, this app will make hemoglobin monitoring more accessible in developing countries. For more details on this revolutionary development, check out the entire article here.

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