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AliveCor Debuts Mobile ECG Interpretation for Smartphone-Based Heart Monitors

Mobile cardiovascular health firm AliveCor (San Francisco, CA) has announced the debut of AliveInsights, a new service that enables patients to send ECG data generated by the company's heart monitors to cardiologists or cardiac technicians for review for a fee.

AliveCor has debuted remote ECG interpretation for its iPhone-based heart monitor.
AliveCor has debuted remote ECG interpretation for its iPhone-based heart monitor.

"Fees that are low enough to get people to do it, but not so low that there isn't some feedback that makes someone think twice before doing it five times a day," stated Dr. Dave Albert, cofounder of AliveCor. "People have believed for a long time that healthcare would be paid for by their health insurance, and that's led to overuse of healthcare resources."

With the new system, patients will be able to choose different types of healthcare providers for remote diagnostics. Patients can choose between traditional physicians, CCU nurses and cardiac techs. According to Dr. Albert, the responsiveness of a healthcare provider will be contingent on the amount that a patient is willing to pay. For patients wanting to save money, it's possible to receive a technical review from a cardiac technician. For patients wanting to receive an in-depth clinical view, it's also possible to send ECG data to a board-certified cardiologist.

As of now, the AliveCor Heart Monitor is available to U.S. patients with a prescription. The device is available more broadly to medical professionals.

AliveCor's ECG system doesn't require electrodes or wires. Instead, the ECG sensor for the system is designed for use with an Android or Apple smartphone / tablet. Both the Android and Apple adapters have FDA 510(k) clearance and sell for a price tag of $199. However, AliveInsights is only available on Apple-branded devices. AliveInsights for Android should be ready in December.

Qmed has explored some of the benefits and concerns associated with mobile health technologies. In September, we reported on AliveCor's latest patent for a smartphone-based heart monitoring system.

AliveCor CMO Dave Albert will speak at The Wireless Medical Devices West conference on "The Impact of the Quantified Self Movement on Healthcare" on December 3, 2013 as part of BIOMEDevice San Jose conference and trade show.

By incorporating the ability to have clinicians help interpret ECG data, AliveCor's entry to the healthcare services space may mark the early phase of a significant trend. Earlier this year, Medtronic announced a similarly-minded initiative with the acquisition of Cardiocom targeting the chronic disease monitoring space. Albert himself has pointed out that the business model that has supported the medical device industry for decades was becoming less profitable, and that device and mHealth firms would have to find new forms of revenue.

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