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Validation of a Scoliometer Smartphone App to Assess Scoliosis

Franko, Orrin I. MD*; Bray, Christopher MD; Newton, Peter O. MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: December 2012 - Volume 32 - Issue 8 - p e72–e75
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31826bb109

Background: Surgeons and software developers recognize that apps can improve patient care by replicating the function of existing medical devices. However, the incorporation of new tools requires that the clinical data being recorded is accurate and valid. This study attempts to validate a new iPhone app to measure scoliotic rotation. The objective of this study was to validate the scoliogauge iPhone application by comparing the results to simultaneous readings from a standard Scoliometer.

Methods: Four orthopaedic medical providers (attending surgeon, fellow, resident, and nurse practitioner) each read a standard scoliometer at 60 randomly selected angular measurements between −30 and 30 degrees, whereas a blinded observer simultaneously recorded the angular measurement derived from the scoligauge app. The correlation between the 2 measurements were calculated using a Pearson correlation coefficient with a P-value set to <0.05 for significance.

Results: The Pearson correlation values ranged from 0.9994 to 0.9996 for all providers and all P-values <0.001. There was no increase in time associated with using the app compared with the standard device.

Conclusions: The scoligauge app is a convenient novel tool that replicates the function of a standard clinical scoliometer but with a potentially decreased financial cost and greater convenience for providers.

Clinical Relevance: Validation of this new device demonstrates the potential to increase the distribution of cost-effective scoliosis screening tools to a broad population of medical providers.

*Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, CA

Sources of funding: None.

O.I.F. is co-inventor of the scoliometer adapter reported here and founder of P.O.N. receives royalties, is a paid consultant and has received research support not related to this study from DePuy Spine. The remaining author declares no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Orrin I. Franko, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, 200 West Arbor Drive MC #8894, San Diego, CA 92103. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.