Health IT

Qardio plans 2014 launch of a mobile blood pressure monitor, à la Withings, iHealth

Another Silicon Valley startup by the name of Qardio is planning its jump into the remote health monitoring pool early next year with a mobile blood pressure cuff and a cardiac monitoring chest strap. Qardio thinks that many people who should be taking daily blood pressure readings aren’t because it’s inconvenient to carry around a […]

Another Silicon Valley startup by the name of Qardio is planning its jump into the remote health monitoring pool early next year with a mobile blood pressure cuff and a cardiac monitoring chest strap.

Qardio thinks that many people who should be taking daily blood pressure readings aren’t because it’s inconvenient to carry around a clunky device, and it wants to change that. It says its offering is different from other products on the market, in its design and user experience.

“Our innovation is in the design,” explained the company’s spokeswoman. “It’s wireless, uses Bluetooth, is portable and small – it fits in your pocket, your purse or in the back of your jeans.”

QardioArm is a cuff that’s put on the upper arm and reads a person’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Perhaps best suited for someone who has hypertension or is at high risk for a cardiac event, the cuff wirelessly transmits the readings to an iOS device. A corresponding app aggregates and stores those readings, so users can track their data over time and let their doctors have access if necessary.

The app has a few other features, like reminders and a patent-pending function that displays calming images when a person is taking a reading, to prevent their blood pressure from rising due to the anxiety of knowing they’re taking a measurement.

The similar Withings and iHealth systems got a lot of hype a few years ago at CES, but Dr. Iltifat Husain brought up a few good points to consider in a review of them.  For example, only 30 percent of iPhone users are above age 45, and even fewer are above age 55. Even if an Android version is made, is that enough potential users for these companies be able to find market traction?

Qardio will soon find out, as it’s recently closed a $1 million fundraising round and is in the process of sending out its manufacturing model. The company, which will sell directly to consumers, should be ready to bring the device to market in the U.S. in early 2014. The company is also awaiting a green light from the FDA.

The startup’s founders, Marco Peluso and Rosario Iannella, started the company after Peluso’s dad had a small stroke a few years ago. Doctors were initially unable to determine what caused the stroke, making it hard to know what could possibly prevent another one. That was also the impetus for developing the company’s other forthcoming product, QardioCore – a chest strap that monitors EKG, heart rate, physical activity and skin temperature without wires, buttons or any kind of skin preparation.

[Image credit: Qardio]