Move over mobile medical apps.
A new device and app is taking the mhealth capabilities of the iPhone to a whole new level.
San Francisco-based AliveCor announced Monday that it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its heart monitor. Now, U.S. users of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S can shell out $199 (taxes and shipping are extra) to preorder the device, which begins shipping in January. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the iPhone does not come included, the company’s website notes handily. (Looks the like final device ended up costing more than the $100 that founder and physician David Albert at one time envisioned.)
So how does it work? The small wireless device comprising two electrodes can snap on to the back of an iPhone and then the souped-up iPhone can be placed next to the heart, against the skin to deliver clinical quality electrocardiograms. It functions like any iPhone cover intended to protect the smartphone.
Before the FDA clearance, prominent cardiologist Eric Topol used the device on an air plane to determine that a fellow traveler was having a heart attack, ordering the plane to land.
While interest in mhealth is exploding, this device appears to be mhealth on steroids, given that it is actually a physical device aiming to give medical data. The device has been eagerly anticipated by mhealth watchers and it will be interesting to see how well the product is adopted.
Perhaps this is the beginning of what Silicon Valley VC and provocateur Vinod Khosla proclaimed when he said that machines will one day replace 80 percent of middling doctors. No surprises that Khosla Venture, his VC firm, is an investor in AliveCor.
In June, the company raised $10.5 million in a series B round from Khosla Ventures as well as existing series A investors like Burrill & Company, Qualcomm Ventures and Oklahoma Life Sciences fund.