Meridian Health JV unveils low-cost RhythmTrak ECG device

By Brian Dolan
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iMPak RhythmTrakNew Jersey-based healthcare system Meridian Health's joint venture, iMPak Health announced its next low-cost mobile health device, a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled credit card sized ECG device that pairs with NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets. iMPak, which Meridian co-founded with Swedish technology vendor Cypak, said the device, called RhythmTrak, works with Android devices today and should be available for Apple iOS device users by year-end. RhythmTrak is not yet cleared by the FDA, but iMPak has submitted it to the FDA and for a CE Mark in Europe.

RhythmTrak documents heart rates, heart rate variability, calculates R to R intervals, and single lead waveforms, according to iMPak. The device can then wirelessly transmit the data to a NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet that is immediately next to it. The data then appears in the app on the device and users will be able to send the information to their physician.

iMPak stresses that RhythmTrak is not intended to be a diagnostic device, but rather for patients to track symptoms during the active management of atrial fibrillation (AF), which the American Heart Association (AHA) says affects about 2 million people in the US.

RhythmTrak is very similar in both form and function to AliveCor's iCard ECG device, the credit card sized version of its well known (but still not FDA cleared) iPhone ECG device, which takes an initial form as an iPhone case. Some subtle differences: RhythmTrak's device takes its readings from the patient's thumbs, has an indicator light on the device itself for when the reading is captured, and explicitly uses NFC. Alivecor has not disclosed how it transmits data to its companion smartphones and tablets and its leads can take readings from the user's chest -- even through their shirt in most cases -- as well as the thumbs. RhythmTrak also looks to be less expensive at $39.99, while the AliveCor devices are likely to be closer to $99.

Perhaps most importantly though, unlike many other similar devices on the market, RhythmTrak does not aim to diagnose but rather aid in management of AF, Sandra Elliott, director, Consumer Technology and Service Development, Meridian Health told MobiHealthNews in an email.

"It can be incredibly empowering for a patient to have a tool that helps them work with their physician to determine if they may need a change in medication or therapy, especially when it comes to overall heart health," Elliott stated in a press release. "Even patients undergoing ablation, a surgical procedure sometimes used to treat atrial fibrillation may still have symptoms after their procedure. The key is to understand if patients show improvement over time."

iMPak has previously launched a sleep tracker device with T-Mobile USA and its NFC-enabled Health Journal for Pain device.

Here's a quick demo of RhythmTrak from Meridian Health:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GG5rSKmNo4[/youtube]

PRESS RELEASE: NEPTUNE, N.J., May 16, 2012 -- iMPak Health, LLC announced today the launch of their new product, RhythmTrak, a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled cardiovascular mobile health and wellness application. RhythmTrak is being launched on the Android Platform for both smart phones and tablets and the company plans to have the application on the iOS platform by the end of the year.

RhythmTrak is a handheld, credit card sized ECG device that documents heart rates, heart rate variability, calculates R to R intervals, and single lead waveforms. Data collected on the device is transmitted wirelessly using a NFC reader or an NFC enabled smart phone or tablet. The user then can simply forward the information to their physician. RhythmTrak is not intended to be a diagnostic device, but to be used to track patient symptoms during the active management of atrial fibrillation.

According to the American Heart Association, about 2 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation and related cardiac illness, putting them at risk for heart attacks and strokes. "Linking personal monitoring technologies such as RhythmTrak to practical everyday clinical protocols will improve the ability of both the clinician and the patient to better manage chronic conditions" said Richard Scott, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Effectiveness, Meridian Health.

"It can be incredibly empowering for a patient to have a tool that helps them work with their physician to determine if they may need a change in medication or therapy, especially when it comes to overall heart health," added Sandra Elliott, director, Consumer Technology and Service Development, Meridian Health. "Even patients undergoing ablation, a surgical procedure sometimes used to treat atrial fibrillation may still have symptoms after their procedure. The key is to understand if patients show improvement over time."

RhythmTrak is expected to cost $39.99 when it hits the market. iMPak Health has submitted RhythmTrak for FDA approval in the United States and CE approval in the European Market.

For more information about RhythmTrak or to see a video, please visit http://www.impakhealth.com/cardiovascular-health .

About iMPak Health

A joint venture of Swedish-based chip developer and innovator Cypak and Meridian Health, a not for profit health care leader, iMPak Health brings together the latest in wireless technology and the front-line know-how of today's health care environment to provide consumers and patients with effective and intuitive tools to better manage their health. iMPak Health's mission is to become a leader in developing, easy-to-use devices to screen, diagnose, and monitor health conditions through wireless technology For more information, please visit www.iMPakHealth.com .

About Meridian Health

Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and outpatient centers. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" for three years in a row, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence. Recently, Meridian Health was the only health system in New Jersey to be ranked as one of the most Integrated Healthcare Systems in the nation according to SDI and Modern Healthcare Magazine. For more information, please visit www.MeridianHealth.com .

SOURCE iMPak Health