Just put your finger over your phone's flash to see if your haemoglobin levels are normal.

The common method of testing for Anaemia is by drawing blood through a needle, but researchers at the University of Washington have struck upon a genius needle-free alternative, and all you need is your smartphone.

Kardia transforms your phone into a medical-grade ECG machine

It’s called HemaApp, and it’s an app that can accurately detect levels of haemoglobin in your blood just by shining a light on your finger. Simply pop your finger over your phone’s flash, and HemaApp will analyse the colour of your blood through your skin to give a reading of haemoglobin concentration.

hemaapp-finger

Light shining through your finger helps the app analyse the colour of your blood

Anaemia – a common blood disorder – is characterised by low levels of haemoglobin, so HemaApp can effectively help to diagnose the condition without the need for a nurse or doctor to resort to a needle.

According to the researchers, an anaemia screening using HemaApp on 31 patients ranging from 6 to 77 years old gave a sensitivity and precision of 85.7% and 76.5%. They even found is as accurate as Masimo Pronto, an expensive FDA-approved machine that can measure haemoglobin through a small device that clips to a patient’s finger.

hemaapp-comparison

HemaApp is as accurate as popular methods for testing haemoglobin levels in blood

Although HemaApp has nailed the testing process, it doesn’t look it will be popping up in the App store any time soon. It’s mostly going to be used by healthcare professionals for initial anaemia screenings; Patients who score low haemoglobin levels are still going to have to go through a regular blood test.

Still, it’s a quick way to determine whether a patient needs a blood test for anaemia or not – and it’s sure to save valuable time and wasted money on unnecessary blood tests. Read more about HemaApp here.