December 13-15, 2018

MedTech Impact 2018

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

Tag Archives: mobile devices

Smartphone Apps Help Identify and Treat Atrial Fibrillation

The accelerometers built into most smartphones can identify atrial fibrillation (Afib). Known as gyrocardiography, this method is now known to compete with electrocardiography (ECG) for detecting Afib in many use cases, particularly letting patients assess their own heart rhythms without relying on additional devices beyond smartphones that nearly everyone now has.

According to Finnish researchers at the University of Turku and the Heart Centre of the Turku University Hospital, they began with specialized, stand-alone sensors attached to the skin. As processing software improved and accelerometers within smartphones became more sensitive, they were able to translate all the technology into a smartphone app.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, and significantly increases the risk of stroke and death. One in every four middle-aged adults in Europe and the US will develop atrial fibrillation, and the incidence and prevalence are continuously rising.

“Around two-thirds of people in Europe and the US have a mobile device and use it as their main way of accessing online information,” says Dr. Dipak Kotecha, a clinician scientist in cardiovascular medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. “This presents a big opportunity to improve self management and shared decision making in atrial fibrillation.”

In a related development, the My AF app and AF Manager app were developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines Task Force on Atrial Fibrillation and the CATCH ME.

My AF offers data to patients with atrial fibrillation concerning the condition of stroke, the risk involved, atrial fibrillation treatments, and tips on improving lifestyle. Patients can record symptoms and quality of life in a personal journal, which can subsequently be shared with a health professional before consultations.

Dr. Kotecha states, “The app aims to encourage active patient involvement in the management of their condition. There is evidence that patient education can improve self-care, adherence to therapy, and long-term outcomes.”

AF Manager targeted towards doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is in the final stages of approval. “AF Manager imports information shared by the patient and allows the healthcare professional to amend details and enter other medical information, such as electrocardiogram or echocardiography data.


Healthcare in the Home: Technology & Patient Care

The increase in human lifespan—currently at an average of 80 years in developed countries—is often attributed to improved medical treatments and technologies, including innovations like the discovery of antibiotics and enhanced care for once-fatal occurrences like heart attacks. Yet advancements in medical technology also impact quality of life, particularly as people age. Many recent breakthroughs have improved seniors’ ability to remain healthy throughout the aging process, while simultaneously improving home care and challenges like overcrowded hospitals and remote populations.

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The Financial Potential of Digital Health

New research indicates that digital health has the potential to save up to $46 billion in annual healthcare spending, according to a new report from IQVIA (Quintiles/IMS Health). Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, describes a new landscape of healthcare, in which a model that looks across five different patient population groups has seen a proven reduction in acute care utilization–typically hospitalization–when consumer mobile apps are used.

“Diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation: in each of those five areas we took the results from published research and modeled that to estimate that if these available apps today were used by all patients who could benefit from them, the US healthcare system could save $7 billion per year. So that’s just for five areas. If that level of savings was achievable across all disease areas, we’re looking at annual savings of something like $46 billion.”

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FDA Encourages Development of Medical Technology

The Food and Drug Administration has recently announced a program that actively encourages the development of medical digital technology, including wireless wearables and applications that can monitor blood pressure and heart rate, track intake of calories, and measure physical activity.

The program is designed to give pre-clearance to developers working on digital health products, as the approval process for apps sometimes includes burdensome regulations, which can increase costs and limit innovation: the FDA hopes to reduce development costs and give entrepreneurs increased opportunities to develop products.

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