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Universal Access to Essential Vital Signs Monitoring

Ansermino, J. Mark MBBCh, FRCPC

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182a1f22f
Technology, Computing, and Simulation: Special Article

Much more than a telephone, today’s mobile device has become an integral part of the way we interface with the world. Mobile devices have the computing capability, display, and battery power to become powerful medical devices that measure vital signs and provide intelligent interpretation or immediate transmission of information. The widespread adoption of mobile devices, even in low-resource settings, promises to make vital signs monitoring available anywhere and at low cost. This readily available computing power will also extend the utility of vital signs monitoring to new clinical indications, especially with the use of additional processing and integration of information. This review will focus on the universal promotion of pulse oximetry and advanced processing of plethysmography to assess variables such as respiratory rate, capillary refill time, and fluid responsiveness, and how these measurements may assist with perioperative monitoring, diagnosis, and management of pneumonia in children and preeclampsia in pregnancy when combined with mobile devices.

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia; and Department of Anesthesia, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Accepted for publication June 17, 2013.

Published ahead of print September 10, 2013

Funding: Not funded.

Conflict of Interest: See Disclosures at the end of the article.

Reprints will not be available from the author.

Address correspondence to J. Mark Ansermino, MBBCh, FRCPC, Department of Anesthesia, BC Children’s Hospital, 1L7-4480 Oak St., Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4, Canada. Address e-mail to

© 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society
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