LifeWatch to track sleep apnea with NiteWatch

By Brian Dolan
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LifeWatchRemote wireless cardiac monitoring company LifeWatch has announced a new offering for diagnosing sleep apnea: NiteWatch. The company expects to make the service commercially available during the first quarter of 2010.

Unlike its closest competitor, CardioNet, LifeWatch uses an actual smartphone as the gateway for its cardiac monitoring system -- the company has an exclusive carriage agreement with Verizon Wireless in the U.S. CardioNet uses a dedicated device instead of a smartphone. While LifeWatch claims it is the first to offer a sleep diagnostic service, CardioNet also launched a sleep-centered service earlier this year: SomNet. NiteWatch, however, bills itself as a diagnostic service for sleep apnea, while CardioNet shied away from calling SomNet a diagnostic service for sleep apnea, and simply positioned it as an add-on for clinicians already using its MCOT application.

This move by LifeWatch provides further evidence that if cardiac monitoring is the low hanging fruit in wireless health, than sleep apnea diagnosis is hanging from the same branch. The news follows other wireless health solution launches for sleep disorders, including Zeo, NeuroVigil and others.

Here's how LifeWatch describes NiteWatch:

NiteWatch provides Home Sleep Testing for diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a widely undiagnosed medical condition that is highly correlated with other chronic diseases. Thirty eight million Americans are affected by OSA, of which fifteen million are undiagnosed. The U.S. market for OSA is currently estimated at USD 1.5 billion, out of which an estimated one million tests are conducted annually. This market is projected to grow between 20-50% in the next five years, with home sleep testing capturing approximately 20% of the total market. LifeWatch, as the first Cardiac IDTF to enter into home sleep testing services, will leverage its medical monitoring expertise into a competitive advantage, and diversify LifeWatch´s service offering. LifeWatch is fully on track with its planned roll out of the NiteWatch service and has expanded its beta launch to 12 clients and is now approaching 50 patients. The Company has already signed 166 commercial managed care contracts covering 90 million lives for its new NiteWatch service and will continue to broaden coverage with additional contracts.

Read the full release here