Biosensing software company Biospectal has published positive results from a global health study that evaluated the firm’s mobile blood pressure monitoring app, OptiBP, in low-resource urban and rural settings.

Published in Nature’s NPJ Digital Medicine, the first such independent research and validation study showed the potential of the OptiBP mobile app to manage high blood pressure.

The results were gathered from the general population and pregnant population participants.

According to the Switzerland-based Biospectal, the study confirms OptiBP’s use as an accessible, connected, easy-to-use, clinical-grade blood pressure monitoring platform.

The platform can potentially convert the global network of smartphones into a connected, clinical-grade blood pressure monitoring platform, said the company.

Biospectal claimed further that the platform will democratise access and assist people around the world of all income levels to better monitor and manage their blood pressure.

The Biospectal OptiBP app analyses pulse waves to determine pressure using the smartphone camera. The users only need to press their index finger against the camera lens for about 20 seconds to get a reading.

Biospectal CEO and co-founder Eliott Jones said: “Hypertension is a growing global epidemic, and there has long been a need for a digital tool that can help people around the world manage this condition.

“This research shows that OptiBP has the potential to transform lives and improve global health by offering people a simple yet painstakingly reliable way to track their blood pressure.

“Democratising access to accurate blood pressure reading will ultimately enable early diagnosis and treatment, which will not only save and improve lives but also lessen the strain on the global healthcare system.”

The study was finished in 2021 at three locations in South Africa, Tanzania, and Bangladesh among general populations. In South Africa, the study also featured a pregnant population.

All blood pressure readings were gathered and their accuracy was confirmed by researchers.

Biospectal said that the purpose of including pregnant people was to evaluate new approaches to better control hypertensive problems during pregnancy.

The observational validation study compared blood pressure readings made using a smartphone app with readings made using a traditional auscultatory cuff. The research team utilised a software version that obscures blood pressure readings from research nurses and assistants.