A new mobile phone application may allow for the early identification of treatable growth disorders

A revolutionary new mobile application, GrowthMonitor, puts the exact measurement of children’s height in the hands of parents and guardians. Preliminary data, which will be presented at the annual conference of the Society of Endocrinology in Edinburgh, show that the application can reliably identify treatable growth disorders, much earlier, with significant improvements in children’s health.

Childhood growth is a strong indicator of children’s health and well-being, but delays in diagnosing growth disorders are common in the United Kingdom. Unlike many European health systems, monitoring the growth of children is not a priority in the UK and serious, treatable conditions are often diagnosed late. Growth failure may be the first and only sign of many chronic childhood diseases or show a specific growth disorder, such as growth hormone deficiency (1 in 4,000 children), Noonan and Turner syndrome (1 in 2,500 children each), and SHOX deficiency (up to 20 children). % of undiagnosed short stature).

A reliable and accurate method for parents and caregivers to monitor growth at home can be a cost-effective and convenient strategy for identifying those children who need medical attention, empowering parents, raising awareness and reducing pressure on primary care services. medical assistance.

An interdisciplinary team led by Professor Helen Storr of Queen Mary University in London has developed a user-friendly application called GrowthMonitor to do just that. The nurse, Dr. Thilipan Thaventhiran, led the pilot testing of the GrowthMonitor application in 79 children, which showed that the height data measured by the application were very accurate compared to the gold standard measurements of a stadium stageometer. The app uses a simple traffic light system based on predetermined threshold heights to inform parents that growth is normal (green), to continue monitoring (amber) or to seek medical attention (red).

GrowthMonitor technology can transform our approach to monitoring growth in childhood by enabling caregivers to identify growth problems early, allowing for much earlier diagnosis and treatment of growth disorders. It could also provide reassurance to parents whose children are growing normally, thus reducing unnecessary anxiety and referrals to pediatric services. “

Dr. Taventiran

Following the positive pilot data obtained in a hospital setting, additional tests are now underway to assess the usability of the application in a home setting. This phase is crucial in evaluating the application in the hands of parents and caregivers away from the hospital.

In line with the government’s drive to digitize healthcare, this type of application-based technology provides a model for healthcare innovation that is both cost-effective, convenient, accurate and reliable. Engaging patients, parents and carers to monitor childhood growth enables and raises awareness of important and potentially treatable conditions. ”

Professor Store, Project manager


Society of Endocrinology

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