(HealthDay News) – An iPhone app can transmit diagnostic electrocardiogram images accurately, quickly, and more reliably than e-mail, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from May 15–17 in Baltimore.

David R. Burt, MD, from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues designed an iPhone app that takes a photo of the pre-hospital electrocardiogram and centers and reduces its size, and compared its transmission over three cell phone networks with standard photo-to-email transmission in an urban area.

The researchers found that the app was significantly faster, with less standard deviation, and the improvement in image transmission became more marked with increasing photo size. The app transmitted images in 4–6 seconds compared with 38–114 seconds for an actual-size photo and 17–48 seconds for a large-size e-mail image. The app had a <0.5% failure rate within 120 seconds over 1,500 separate transmission attempts. In contrast, the failure rate for full-size photos was 3, 71.2, and 15.5% on the three networks.

“Simple cellular technology can save lives,” Burt said in a statement. “This system may make pre-hospital electrocardiogram transmission a more inexpensive and reliable option. That can translate to faster treatment and saved lives.”

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