Smartphone-based ECG Takes India by Storm

Nancy Crotti

September 12, 2014

3 Min Read
Smartphone-based ECG Takes India by Storm

A network of hospitals in India has agreed to use AliveCor Inc.'s smartphone-enabled heart monitor to screen patients across that country for heart arrhythmia and risk of stroke, according to a joint announcement

Apollo Hospitals will provide patients with the AliveCor heart monitors, which attach to smartphones, as part of its arrhythmia screening and stroke prevention program. The monitor is compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices to wirelessly record, display, store, and transfer heart rate and single-channel electrocardiograms (ECG), according to San Francisco-based AliveCor.

Terms of the deal are confidential said AliveCor spokesperson Rebecca Phillips in an email.

"Apollo is our exclusive reseller/distributor in certain south Asian countries," Phillips added. "They are authorized to sell and distribute our product through their channels, which include the pharmacies, physicians and hospitals."

"We recognize the pioneering work that has been done by AliveCor in the U.S. and also the great value that this technology can bring to patients as we work to address the problems of arrhythmias in India," said Prathap C. Reddy, MD, chair of Apollo Hospitals, in the announcement. "It's extremely important for us to provide access to medical devices that are both clinically proven and cost-effective to help our patients manage their cardiac health." 

Apollo Hospitals operates 51 hospitals, 1,503 pharmacies, 92 primary care and diagnostic clinics, and 100 telemedicine units in 10 countries, according to the announcement.

AliveCor's smartphone-based heart monitor was used in an Australian study to capture 30-60-second electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings and then wirelessly transmit them to the study's participating cardiologists for interpretation. The researchers reported that previously unknown AF was identified in 1.5 percent of the people screened; all were said to be at high risk of stroke.

AliveCor began working with Practice Fusion--the largest free, cloud-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) community in the United States--in February to enable heart patients to upload data directly from their devices to their EHRs. This uploaded data will be available to physicians and healthcare providers within seconds.

The company said in February that it is also creating a dedicated app for primary care physicians using the Practice Fusion EHR. This will allow them to collect patient ECGs and request an analysis or "over-read" from licensed technicians or board-certified cardiologists. This app will also keep track of patients' history over time. AliveCor says the subscription-based program will cost less than the price of a single device, which lists for $199 on the company's website.

The FDA approved the company's smartphone-based heart monitor in 2012 and allowed it to be sold over the counter earlier this year.

AliveCor makes three versions of its heart monitor. It is available mounted in a case for the iPhone 5 and 5S or for the Samsung Galaxy S4, and with a universal attachment plate to fit other smartphones. The company's free AliveECG app is available in iOS and Android flavors. The app can email or print ECGs, or can save them as PDFs.

Nancy Crotti is a contributor to Qmed and MPMN.

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About the Author(s)

Nancy Crotti

Nancy Crotti is a frequent contributor to MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected].

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