Transforming digital health in a heart beat
WEARABLE tech that monitors your heart rate has been around for a long time but most of it delivered very basic metrics which did little more than help us monitor our activity.
But what if the future of wearable tech was able to identify users from their unique heart rhythm, provide medical grade monitoring of our heart health and contribute to the reduction of hospital appointments at a time when health systems are buckling under the pressure of a worldwide pandemic?
What if software embedded in our smart-watches, devices and other wearable tech gave us the power to proactively manage our own heart health and live healthier daily lives by using the data it supplies? Would this be a game-changer? We think so.
Working with our team of engineers in Belfast, we have just secured Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance in the US for our medical grade HeartKey software which does just this. The technology uniquely combines user identification, health and wellness to generate accurate data encrypted through the user's unique heartbeat.
In essence, it uses electrocardiogram (ECG), your heart's rhythm and electrical activity, to determine who you are and how you are at the same time, and can help save lives.
With heart disease being the world's single biggest killer, the potential is huge.
Covid-19 has also brought into sharp focus the need for more remote delivery of healthcare. According to the NHS, the virus has caused major disruption to the care of tens of thousands of patients.
With social distancing the new world order for now at least, remote monitoring of heart health could prove to be life saving for patients and, at the very least, time saving for cardiology care teams.
The virus has also caused irreparable cardiac damage and arrhythmias in people with no underlying heart issues, making heart health and remote monitoring a key priority for patients, clinicians and health service and insurance providers around the world.
By putting a greater level of control in the hands of consumers and clinicians with the aid of the devices they wear, a digital transformation of global health systems can be rolled out.
We firmly believe technology is the lynchpin in assisting healthcare to adapt to this rapidly changing world.
Personal devices which allow you to gather medical grade ECG data and share that data with your doctor will play a central role in this changing world.
The cost of treating heart disease is $700 billion a year making heart health a key battleground for healthcare providers around the world.
According to Dr Andrew Mitchell, consultant cardiologist at Jersey General Hospital and honorary consultant cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, one in four adults are affected by heart-rate variability conditions but so many are unaware.
Devices incorporating specialist software could give these people the power to monitor their own health, with the end goal of preventing the onset of premature heart disease.
Technology being developed here in Belfast is at the forefront of this digital transformation in heart health monitoring globally. FDA clearance brings us a step closer to tackling the world's single biggest killer head on.
:: Ben Carter is chief commercial officer at B-Secur in Belfast