Monitoring and diagnosis: Wearable sensors in cardiac care

Preventice Solutions delivers a superior combination of remote monitoring technologies and services to patients, providers, payers, and life science companies.

Working with partners, Preventice seeks to raise the quality and cost effectiveness of care and enhance the ongoing management of patients burdened by cardiac-related issues and other health disorders.

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The average human, with 60-100 heartbeats a minute, will see their heart beat a little over 100,000 times in the average day. If this was all to be captured on an electrocardiogram (ECG) that would translate into around 44 megabytes of information per day. Preventice collects over 200 gigabytes of information a day, or 72 terabytes a year – an awful lot of data for just one signal from many people. To gain a fuller picture of an individual's cardiac health, one would also ideally need heart rate, respiration rate, activity level, blood pressure, weight and blood sugar, among other data points.

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Preventice products include a number of different heart rate measuring devices and are available on prescription. A customer with an established or suspected heart condition has to first undergo tests within a clinical environment. They are then given a tracking device together with electrodes to put on the skin and advice about how to use the device. The device supplies remote data to Preventice, who then analyse it for any abnormalities. Should there be any irregular patterns, the case is passed onto the patient's physician, who discusses the next steps with them.

Crucial to the differentiation of Preventice is that its devices have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This will become an increasing issue for wearable monitoring devices – the distinction between clinical grade equipment and non-clinical grade, expected to be used at the fitness/wellness end of the market. Being available on prescription only has some drawbacks for end users. For insurance purposes, they can only use it for the time period of the prescription; and once completed, insurance payments are no longer available. Events such as stroke, however, may not conform to insurance timetables.

The hardest part of delivery is integrating the eventual results into the workflow of the user. It further marks a change in the use of data. Traditionally there has been a very thick wall between providers and patients once the patient leaves a facility. Patients have had no access to their data or their physician when not in the facility, and the providers have had no insight into how the patient is doing outside of the clinic. By leveraging the Preventice Care Platform and integrating it into electronic medical records, providers can truly offer patient-centric care that engages patients with their care plan and care team.

Jon is President, Chief Strategy Officer & CEO of the Preventice Solutions Group. Summary by Simon Woodward.