Blood pressure is a very critical thing for all humans. Many people in today’s world are now patients of metabolic disease including hypertension. Actually both low and high blood pressure are dangerous. Most people have hypertension and it is called the silent killer because people don’t feel symptoms until its too late. On top, many times reason for blood pressure (BP) change is also not found. It is very crucial to keep BP in healthy range so we should check it regularly. Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9/S9+ have special sensor that can measure BP. We have been using it since start and in short we describe it has one of the best feature in a smartphone.
We are fan of Samsung from the time they started placing optical heart rate monitor on their flagship phone. The optical heart rate monitor can measure heart rates or BPM. This is available through S Health app. Samsung announced optical blood pressure monitoring feature in S9 and S9+. Then they also continued this in Galaxy Note 9.
Currently at time of writing this article, Samsung S Health doesn’t have the BP monitoring feature. We need application named “My BP Lab” to use this feature. Also the special app “My BP Lab” is only available in USA Google Play Store. This was a very unique feature that was interesting. So we downloaded the app from USA store and sideloaded into the phone.
My BP Lab App Details and Background
This is a special app developed in partnership with Samsung. Sage Bionetworks are the publisher of this app and the study is being done by UCSF. This is a product from collaboration of UCSF and Samsung. Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 9 have optical sensor at the back. This sensor measures pulse and blood volume changes to get the result. They publicly stated that this not a medical device and it can’t be used for diagnosis. This is still in development and study phase. My BP Lab studies blood press and stress of the users or participants.
Using The App to measure blood pressure
The app is just available in the USA and users of other country need to sideload this by downloading the apk file. Signing up requires personal information and some verification using email. At first it asks to enter the baseline reading of users Blood pressure. Users can feed data from their physical measurement devices such as Sphygmomanometer. Most of us have the knowledge that normal reading is 120/80. This is very complex topic but it is general reading for a healthy person. Do note that BP changes with age.
Users who input data such as 120/80 from their other instruments can get numerical reading while measuring pressure in future. However if you don’t have an instrument to fetch data, the app can initially be used to take measurement of baseline. But in future it only shows change is percentage according to baseline. This is not very helpful because we need numerical reading. So we recommend entering baseline using a measurement device. Baseline is important because different people can have different base pressure. But many people have 120/80.
So we also entered 120 Systolic and 80 Diastolic pressure. After that we started measuring the pressure at different times for different people and in different situation. We measured it in resting position, after running, walking and on stressful situations. The app is not flawless because measurement is a bit hard sometimes. Users need to place fingertip very carefully against the optical sensors. It doesn’t measure if hands are cold or placement is wrong and if users move too much. Initially we faced too many errors that we got frustrated. But slowly with new app updates and practice the experience improved.
Benefits and Experience
It clearly says that it can’t be used for diagnostic use. But we can use it to be alert and that is crucial. The number of patients with heart disease including blood pressure is on the rise. This feature can be a life saver because patients or people don’t have to use instruments all the time. We carry phones all the time with us and Samsung’s BP measuring feature gives measurement within a minute. People can see their changes and be alert and take precautions.
In our test using Samsung Galaxy Note 9 for blood pressure measurement were satisfactory. The reading may not match reading on traditional medical devices but the reading phone is close. In our experience, the tests were satisfying and good enough to be used. My BP Lab notifies users to check their pressure twice a day but most importantly at night. It stores all past data so that we can study the trend. It is very useful for people who are on medicine. All we see here is a very positive thing because it makes users alert every time because they have the power to check their BP all time.
Many patients are negligent and may eat and go out of diet by consoling themselves their BP is in good state. Many people don’t have instruments at home and skill to use Sphygmomanometer. So people might skip going to doctor and clinic but if a phone helps to measure in an instant, this problem goes away. The measurement may not be absolute but it does show the change in pressure which can surely alert user about their health.
Review and Future Expectations
People can always check their status and this can encourage to take medications and exercise on time. Small looking feature can be life saver for many people. The device and app are in development but the data they give are very near to exact measurement. Thus the data and measurement are always helpful for knowing the health status. This is a study and developing technology and it is positive. The technology may surely improve one day and bring full fledged diagnostic level BP measuring feature in phone. All in all we are very happy with this feature on Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It just made us change our view on health related features inside a mobile phone. Now we wish to see ECG feature in next phone so that we can have best phone with get health assistant features.