Friday, November 11, 2005

For Profit, Home-based EKG Telemetry Service

From Medgadget:

When a customer signs up for EKGuard, the company sends a handheld EKG monitor. They also take a customer's medical history, contact his or her doctor and cardiologist, and explain how they should take a baseline EKG, for reference by cardiac specialists.

The portable monitor has three wires; placed in the right spots on the body, they record data from 12 different leads, like a standard hospital or ambulance EKG. When collected, the data build a picture of how efficiently electrical impulses are traveling through the heart. To transmit the EKG readings to the call center, the device translates the information into sound and plays it over a phone line to a computerized receiving station, where it is reconfigured into an EKG chart that can be analyzed for irregularities...

Now that the company is up and running stateside, Lichtenstein says, they plan to refine the technology. The next step: adding Bluetooth wireless capabilities to the device, so that it can communicate with a cell phone or a PDA...

Companies like EKGuard are already operating in Israel, England, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. More than 120,000 people in Israel alone are using a similar service, according to Lichtenstein, and a study by one company found that the technology helped its customers cut emergency-room visits by 30 percent. Even more telling, the average time it took for heart attack victims to call for help after their first symptoms appeared dropped from four hours to around 40 minutes.


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