Omron announces new blood pressure monitors, app, AliveCor partnership

By Dave Muoio
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Editor's note: The headline of a previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Omron's devices as heart rate monitors instead of blood pressure monitors.

Last week at CES, Omron Healthcare announced two new heart monitoring devices as well as an updated version of its app to better connect the company’s products.

The first device, the Omron HeartGuide, is a watch being billed as the first wearable oscillometric wrist blood pressure monitor. The second, the Omron Blood Pressure Monitor + EKG, is a partnership with AliveCore that will allow users to measure for two critical risk factors for stroke within their homes. According to a statement, Omron plans to submit both devices to the FDA later this year.

Among the key features of the HeartGuide is a flexible synthetic band that is designed to inflate and maintain its shape when taking a blood pressure reading, yet remain comfortable on the wrist. The wearable device, an update over a prototype showed off by the company at last year’s event, can also be programmed to take blood pressure readings during the night.

“You press a button, hold it over your heart, and it will take your blood pressure, and it will take it accurately,” Ranndy Kellogg, president and CEO of Omron Healthcare, said on-stage during CES’ Digital Health Summit. “Over the past year we’ve been partnering with medical researchers to make significant advances over a prototype that we showed here last year. We’ve also worked hard to make sure the design, the accuracy, the comfort, and the technology on this device is much better than before.”

Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, told MobiHealthNews that the convenience of a medical-grade wristworn sensor could be a substantial boon for heart data collection and management.

“I think when you have blood pressure on your wrist, even though it’s intermittent … it will get a lot more sampling then if you have to pull out a cuff and put it on your arm or your wrist,” he said. “Blood pressure is the number one chronic condition, and we don’t have arms around it in terms of management. Half the people poorly manage their blood pressure.”

Omron’s second newly announced monitor combines blood pressure monitoring with AliveCor’s ECG technology to offer both measurements within a single home device. Kellogg said that this partnership with AliveCor — which last year launched an FDA-cleared, Apple Watch-compatible ECG band — and others to come are key to reducing the impact of heart disease worldwide.

“We’re constantly looking at the market to see what’s out there, what technologies are there, and seeing how we can combine our technology with someone [else’s] technology in pursuit of going for zero,” Kellogg said. “Up to 6 million people have a-fib. These people are at a five times greater risk of stroke than those without a condition. This is a partnership with AliveCor that’s led to a breakthrough.”

Connecting these and other Omron devices will be a revised version of its smartphone app, Omron Connect. The free Apple and Android app allows users to collect and store data sent from the monitors to a phone over Bluetooth, and includes consumer-friendly charts, graphs, and other tools to help patients learn from their data and share it with a provider.

“The ability to share represents an advancement in the doctor-patient relationship, and that’s a key partnership,” Kellogg said. “Patients can be more committed knowing that that data that’s coming in is going to their doctor and is from a trusted medical device. Doctors gain more insights by seeing this important data, and that sense of partnership leads to better treatment and better outcomes.”

For more digital health devices revealed at CES 2018, check out MobiHealthNews' roundup