Smartphone apps and wearable sensors have the potential to help people make healthier lifestyle choices. Self-monitoring therefore is one of the core strategies for changing cardiovascular health behaviors. On the other side, patients benefit from sharing their data with doctors and electronic health record (EHR) systems.
MEDICA-tradefair.com has talked to Marco Peluso, CEO at Qardio Inc. with headquarter in San Francisco, developer of QardioCore, a wireless electrocardiogram monitor. It is designed as a chest strap to improve detection and management of cardiac conditions.
Mr. Peluso, why do you think measuring cardiac conditions anytime and anywhere becomes more and more important?
Peluso: Measuring cardiac conditions has always been important - but in many areas of healthcare, we have been stuck with antiquated, ineffective technologies. The heart health monitors currently on the market are not particularly user-friendly, and provide very fragmented data. That is why we created Qardio. Our wearable digital health devices provide an exceptional user experience for the patient, and at the same time, medical accuracy a doctor can really depend on.
What kind of parameters can be measured with QardioCore?
Peluso: QardioCore tracks ECG and simultaneously collects the patient's heart rate and heart rate variability reading, stress levels, respiratory levels, body temperature and activity levels, giving a health professional a complete picture of the heart's behavior in the context of the patient’s lifestyle. Imagine the power of collecting up to 20 million data points per patient per day: it's an incredible data set, providing a much more comprehensive picture to the doctor and making heart health data accessible to the patient in a friendly way.
Peluso: QardioCore is the first ECG that continuously monitors a patient's heart without the need for gels, patches and wires. The collected data is then sent to Qardio's secure cloud for real-time analysis by our proprietary algorithms, streamlining the diagnostic process and automating a lot of the groundwork for doctors, making the whole process extremely time and cost effective. The design itself is unique, allowing the user to monitor his heart without sacrificing the quality of his lifestyle.
How is the collected data analyzed?
Peluso: All Qardio devices are wireless and work with a free companion app, where the collected data is visualized, analyzed and stored for the patient's use. The data is pushed to Qardio's secure cloud where it is processed by our unique algorithms and made available for sharing - for example, with doctors and electronic health record systems.
Who are the potential users of your product and which areas benefit the most?
Peluso: Our users are patients who need accessible yet powerful tools to monitor their heart health. Our customer base is very diverse: we work with major hospitals, doctor’s networks and telehealth providers to offer them more efficient ways to care for their patients. Our users love using Qardio devices - which is important with heart health, as adherence and frequent monitoring can be a life saving exercise. We’ve also seen growing interest from the sport industry, where medical-grade heart activity data is now used for improved training and overall performance.
How popular are wearable devices in the US and UK in general?
Peluso: The US and UK are at the forefront of wearable adoption, but we are observing fast penetration on global levels. Heart health is the biggest health issue of our time, and end users are very enthusiastic about finally finding solutions for this problem that easily fit into their daily lifestyle.
In Germany, data security and privacy protection are still a big matter of debate. How do the American and British people see this topic as it regards wearable devices?
Peluso: As Qardio now has a presence on multiple continents, we see various standards and concerns regarding data protection and security in each territory. In the US, we comply with the HIPAA standards and follow individual requirements in each country we operate in. As we are collecting medical data, we feel it is our obligation to make every effort and go beyond the minimums to ensure safety and privacy of the user's information. For these reasons, we use end-to-end military grade encryption for data transfers, something rather unusual in the wearable space.