Devices & Diagnostics

Mobile health tourney: App that converts smartphone into electrocardiogram goes up against patient engagement tool

A smartphone that transforms into a mobile electrocardiogram monitor to make remote monitoring easier faces a worthy opponent in the form of an app to help physicians explain medical procedures to make patients more involved in their care.

The NCAA College Basketball tournament may be must-see TV but here mobile health apps and devices are in the throes of competition and the stakes are high. Adherence, remote monitoring, engagement, improved outcomes, reduced healthcare costs. So begins our mini tournament of mobile health apps.

AliveCor (FDA cleared) vs. DrawMD by Visible Health

AliveCor converts smartphones into electrocardiograms by snapping onto the back of an iPhone and can be placed by the heart and against the skin.  It has received a lot of recognition for its mobility and the anticipation that it can make a difference in catching irregular heart rhythms early. Although AliveCor CMO and founder Dr. Dave Albert does a great job of promoting the flagship device for the company, Dr. Eric Topol, cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health, makes a pretty good poster child for the device. When he’s not using it on fellow airline passengers to detect irregular heartbeats, he’s using it to instruct talk show hosts on its merits.

DrawMD provides a useful iPad app for helping potentially frightened patients, who may be facing surgery for the first time, understand what a procedure involves. The general surgery app stimulates interaction between healthcare professionals and patients by allowing users to draw, mark up and type on sketches of human anatomy. Patients can receive a copy of the marked up images for reference. In addition to general surgery, the company offers several specialties such as cardiology, orthopedics and obstetrics.

Winner: AliveCor

Why? With the rise of remote monitoring to reduce hospital stays and readmissions while improving outcomes, particularly for patients with significant cardiovascular issues who could benefit from a mobile electrocardiogram, AliveCor is well positioned to advance these goals.