Picture this: You’re at the mall, it’s a hectic shopping trip, and suddenly you feel a few minutes of uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest, then pain in your arm or neck followed by shortness of breath. While looking for a place to sit, you breakout in a sweat, becoming lightheaded and nauseated. These are the classic signs…you’re having a heart attack!
These days, nearly everyone has a cell phone handy, and most likely someone will launch a 9-1-1 call to get medical help for you. But you know how serious this could be, and you’d really appreciate an immediate assessment.
Enter the iPhone. Chances are that one of your fellow shoppers is an off-duty doctor, and chances are that that the doctor may have with him a device called the AliveCor Heart Monitor. With this device—a $199 iPhone plug-in attachment with accompanying mobile application (App)—the doctor could perform a cardiogram on-the-spot, and transmit the ECG records directly to the emergency room to launch a treatment plan while you’re in the ambulance!
The AliveCor device is part a wave of digital technology set to revolutionize the medical world. Called “digital medicine” or “digital health,” the concept refers to the use of an ever-expanding digital infrastructure and electronic communication bandwidth to reshape the patient/doctor connection. Imagine a world where a visit to the doctor becomes a sit-down in your recliner and an internet connection, or where you receive an emergency phone message from your doctor’s office telling you that a monitor you’re wearing has diagnosed a developing problem. Sounds a bit out of this world perhaps, but it’s really not that far away!
In the words of one of this technology’s prime advocates, Eric Topol, M.D., “The ability to get an ECG on a Smartphone is remarkably transformative—an icon of how medicine of the future will be radically rebooted.” Dr. Topol, and American cardiologist, geneticist, and researcher –currently serves as Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, and is an advocate of wireless technology for the medical community.
AliveCor’s Heart Monitor received FDA clearance late last year, and is currently available only to physicians. But don’t despair…AliveCor is projecting that clearance for over-the-counter sales may be obtained later in 2013. In the interim, the vendor will be encouraging medical professionals to make the device available to heart patients via prescriptions earlier in 2013, potentially at a pricepoint of $99.
“Our goal is to make health care cheaper, easier and more readily available without losing quality of care,” said AliveCor President and CEO Judy Wade. “Our aspirations are significant; we’re out to make a real difference.”
Dr. Topol shares AliveCor’s vision, and is widely recognized as one of the drivers of “digital medicine.” After all, he’s a futurist, and he describes this transformation to digitized medicine as a wave that puts the consumer at center stage in the patient-physician partnership. With lower-cost technologies enabling virtual office visits and remote monitoring, for example, he envisions a substantive “rebooting” of the health care landscape.
 Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121203005545/en/AliveCor%E2%80%99s-Heart-Monitor-iPhone-Receives-FDA-Clearance