What do you do if you’re a medical technology startup while waiting for the FDA to approve your flagship iPhone-based product?
If you’re AliveCor, you launch a veterinary version of it.
The product in question is AliveCor’s iPhone ECG heart monitor, which the company showed off nearly two years ago, at the CES in 2011. The device allows a medical professional to assess a patient’s heart rhythm, providing more data than a stethoscope or manual check of their pulse. Although the device has broad potential, it has yet to be approved by the FDA.
The device isn’t a replacement for the 12-lead ECG used in hospitals to assess patients and diagnose conditions like acute myocardial infarction (more commonly referred to as a heart attack), but it does provide what AliveCor’s founder Dr. David Albert calls “clinical quality” data.
In an interview earlier this year, Albert noted that doctors routinely give single-lead monitors to heart patients to monitor their condition over time. He also noted that the broader detail offered over traditional vital sign checks could make the iPhone-based device a useful tool for many general practitioners.
The device consists of a specially-designed case of the iPhone 4 and 4S that contains two electrodes that take readings using a special app designed to accompany the device. Those readings can be uploaded into a cloud-based record system. Healthcare providers can also make notations about the recordings.
AliveCor’s iPhone ECG still hasn’t been approved by the FDA and similar healthcare regulators in other countries for use in human patients.
AliveCor has, however, seen a tremendous interest in the device from veterinarians. As a result, the company developed a variation of the device for veterinary practices. That the device is essentially an iPhone case makes it a good solution for veterinarians that make house calls.
The device has been clinically tested for use with dogs, cats, and horses. As with the human version of the device, vets can notate a range of details (notes, patient name and ID, species, breed, date of birth, and owner/client name) for each recording using the accompanying app.
As you can see in this demo video, the device provides for recording heart data without shaving or traumatizing a skittish patient.
Because the device was designed as an iPhone case, the product can only be used with two iPhone models. AliveCor is exploring ways to expand its solution for use with other iPhones and iOS devices as well as with Android phones.
The Veterinary Heart Monitor is available for veterinary practices and pet owners for $199 (twice what the human version of the device is expected to cost) via AliveCor’s Veterinary Heart Monitor website.