Complications from high blood pressure kill 10 million people a year. Studies show that while control has plateaued in developed countries, in the developing world prevalence continues to grow while awareness remains low. As early detection is essential, more accessible and frequent monitoring is now seen as vital. What if it were possible to put control in individuals’ hands by turning a smartphone into an accurate blood pressure monitor? Swiss physician Professor Patrick Schoettker asked that question to CSEM.

“CSEM has a fantastic  understanding and knowledge of using optical systems to measure vital signs, and bringing this know-how into our use case allowed us to make huge improvements in our OptiBP software—and in the global management of hypertension.”

Professor Patrick Schoettker
Chief Medical Advisor • Biospectal


Illuminating idea

Rising to the challenge, CSEM enhanced its pulse wave measurement technology, which works by illuminating blood vessels under the skin to allow analysis of the pulse wave and the decoding of blood pressure. “We first developed this technology 10 years ago and have been finding new applications as our knowledge and processing capabilities have increased,” explains CSEM’s Jens Krauss. “For this application, we had to find a way of increasing the signal strength and adapting the physiological model in order to meet medical norms.”

“As a physician I identify problems and understand the needs of patients and try to make correlations between these and technical possibilities. CSEM and its engineers have many solutions. Together, CSEM and Biospectal are making magic!” Professor Patrick Schoettker, Chief Medical Advisor, Biospectal

“Democratizing and providing easy access to blood pressure monitoring to people worldwide enables improved treatment and positively impacts medical outcomes. OptiBP is a prime example of the broader transition toward remote patient monitoring, which transfers clinical functions and capability from the professional setting to a very different point of care—patients’ homes.” Eliott Jones, CEO, Biospectal

Physiological model

CSEM also developed the algorithm applied to the pulse wave signals to determine blood pressure. “The challenge here is that the algorithm has to cover all cases, from people with hypertensive conditions to those with diabetes or on medication,” says Krauss. Working with physicians at Lausanne University Hospital and large-scale clinical study data captured from patients’ arterial line samples, CSEM applied its deep learning methods to optimize the model’s physiological parameters and refine the new algorithm.

Global impact

CSEM’s contributions enabled start-up Biospectal to maximize the smartphone optics and computational power of its OptiBP app and data platform. The app allows instantaneous blood pressure tracking and recording by the user simply placing his or her fingertip on a smartphone camera lens. As certified “software as a medical device” (SAMD) that offers seamless connection to users’ clinicians and no need for extra hardware or wearables, it has the potential to revolutionize hypertension treatment and research worldwide. OptiBP is due to be launched worldwide in 2021.

Biospectal is making instant, ubiquitous, and accurate remote blood pressure monitoring and management a reality. Simply by placing a finger on the smartphone camera, anyone can transform their phone into a medical grade blood pressure monitor including data integration with the clinical care regimen – any time, anywhere in the world.

CSEM Annual Report • Democratizing blood pressure monitoring