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As telemedicine gains prominence, the potential for misdiagnosis remains a viable concern. Whether in regard to ultrasound or ECG technology, the focus is shifting toward finding ways to make remote diagnosis as foolproof as possible even among individuals with limited expertise. It is estimated that 4 percent of ECGs are performed with misplaced electrodes, leading to faulty diagnoses and mistreatments. A new algorithm sets out to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of remote electrocardiography.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville engineers developed the algorithm, which examines interferences that result from electrode misplacement and disturbances like patient motion and electromagnetic noise. Instead of a binary "yes-no" classification, the algorithm produces a more detailed A-F letter grade of the ECG that indicates specific weaknesses in the test and makes recommendations as to where to accurately place the electrodes.

Since the algorithm is implemented in a java program, it can be installed and operated on a smartphone, for use in rural communities and other regions with limited access to specialized health care.

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