Not so long back I reviewed some of what I believe to be the best vein finder lights currently available.
For years, a vein finder has been a trusted instrument in my nurse’s bag, and Like my stethoscope, I do not go to work without it.
However, in recent years, the camera and light technology of modern smartphones have enabled the introduction of apps that purport to do the same as a traditional vein finder tool.
Could this be a simple way of reducing weight in the kit bag? Are these apps really up to the task of finding veins in a medical environment?
That’s what I am going to look into today.
Vein Finder Apps – What Are They and How do They Work?
I am no techie, so forgive the layman’s approach to my answer here.
Essentially, a vein finder app is an app you can download from the relevant app store to your phone, (most are available on both IOS and Android), that uses your phone camera and light to highlight veins in a similar way that a medical vein finder light does.
One of the more popular apps (and the one I tested to write this article), is “VeinSeek Pro”. The developers state on their website that by using “multispectral imaging and the intrinsic optical properties of skin”, the app can highlight veins and give them greater contrast.
So how effective are Vein Finder Apps?
I have to admit, the Veinseek Pro app on my iPhone was satisfactory. Follow this link to a Youtube short video to see the app in action, (note: this is a video posted by the developers).
It is easy to use, you simply point the camera lens at the area of skin that you wish to analyze for veins.
You can also activate the flashlight in order to create greater contrast in low-light conditions and within the camera screen, veins are highlighted more than they are with the naked eye.
Furthermore, you can record what you are filming with the app and you can also adjust the contrast in order to see veins more clearly on different skin tones.
The bottom line is, the app did work to highlight veins. It also worked better than I expected.
Can a vein finder app replace a real vein finder light?
This is where I grow less confident. The vein finder app I tried was not as good as my trusty Veinlite EMS PRO. The detail and contrast available on that are definitely superior.
There is also the small issue of how it would look in the eyes of a patient if I used my iPhone to detect their veins. It certainly wouldn’t fill me with confidence.
And in medical situations where high-grade vein finder machines are used, a phone app clearly wouldn’t cut it.
I do feel there is a place for these apps, however.
It is an unfortunate circumstance, however, those that need to find veins for drug use would benefit from using a phone app to increase the accuracy of their injections.
The same would apply to anyone that has to administer an injection at home, and do not have a vein finder to hand, (although anyone doing so frequently should consider purchasing one.)
My final opinion is that while vein finder apps are useful in some circumstances, they are not close to replacing dedicated tools yet.
- Related Content: IV Therapy Tips & Tricks: How to Hit a Vein Every Time
Examples of vein finder apps on the market
As I have not purchased the following apps, I will not attempt to review them. However, here is a quick list of vein finder apps both free and premium that you can find on Android and iPhone devices.
If you have used a vein finder app recently, why not leave a comment in the section below? How did you find it? Did it compare well to a dedicated device, (assuming you have used one)? As always, I’d love to hear from you.
- “Blood Vein Detection System for SmartPhones“, Kazi Istiaque Ahmed; Mohamed Hadi Habaebi; Md Rafiqul Islam. Published in:2018 7th International Conference on Computer and Communication Engineering (ICCCE). DOI: 10.1109/ICCCE.2018.8539281
- “Towards a Low-Cost Mobile Subcutaneous Vein Detection Solution Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy“, Simon Juric, Vojko Flis, Matjaz Debevc, Andreas Holzinger, Borut Zalik, The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2014, Article ID 365902, 15 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/365902