Got a Smartphone? Get a Rhythm.

By Patricia Salber

First posted 10/03/11 on The Doctor Weighs In

There are so many really cool mobile devices and apps out there now.  Here is one I particularly love:  the iPhone ECG.  That’s right folks, click on a cover with embedded sensors and you convert your iPhone 4 into a ECG machine.  There are also business-card sized iCard ECG that you can attach with velcro to the iPhone 3Gs or an iPad. There is also an Android version.

When you hold the phone between two hands or put it on your chest and you detect and automatically upload what the developer, Dr. David Albert, says is a “clinical quality” snapshot of your heart’s rhythm (Lead 1). It is stored on the device and well as being as transmitted and stored on the company, AliveCor‘s servers. It that way it can be made available “instantly” to doctors “anywhere in the world.”

According to the developer’s website, it is not yet available in the US because it hasn’t made it through the FDA’s medical device approval process.  You can sign up on the website to get a product notification. I assume that means they will email you when the devices are ready to go on sale. Dr. Albert says when the device goes on sale, the price will be around $100.

Here are a couple of VIDEOS so you can see how it works:

So why would someone want to have such a device?  Hmmmm, let me think:

  • You (or your doctor) want to capture what your heart is doing when you get palpitations
  • You (or your doctor) are wondering if you are having an arrhythmia when you get a woozy feeling like you might pass out
  • You are into meditation and want to see if you are successfully lowering your heart rate with deep breathing
  • You are a doctor and you come across someone who has passed out – could it be his heart?
  • You live in the boondocks (or in a developing country) and there are no doctors for miles
  • You are a doctor and you want to impress your friends
  • You aren’t a doctor, but you want to impress your friends anyway
  • You are just curious
  • You always like to have the latest and greatest technology
  • No reason, you just want it

Now, there are other more conventional devices available to record your heart rhythm – and they can capture rhythms for prolonged periods of time (you never know when the palpitations are going to hit).  Your doctor can order one of these to monitor your heart rhythm.  Alternatively, you can go to Amazon and buy yourself a portable monitoring device, but none of the ones there are as pretty as the iPhone.  And, you are not likely to carry one around with you 24/7 like you would your iPhone.

Wow! The mHealth revolution continues to grow exponentially and mHealth Inventors continue to develop new devices that increasingly, and quite literally, are putting healthcare into our own hands.

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