AT&T has announced plans to carry eCardio Diagnostics' cardiac arrhythmia-monitoring mobile devices on its wireless network to allow physicians to monitor patients' heartbeats in real time.
The eCardio M2M (machine-to-machine) monitor allows heart patients to recuperate at home from arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats, rather than endure a long stay in the hospital.
An arrhythmia, or heart rhythm disorder, occurs when the heart's electrical impulses malfunction and cause the beat to become irregular.
Although eCardio's monitoring is already installed in 10,000 cardiac units, AT&T's wireless network will allow monitoring to happen in real time and improve the time it takes to diagnose a condition, eCardio reports.
"AT&T delivered the expertise and services we needed to create an end-to-end mobility solution that improves the patient experience and physician productivity," said Andrew Arroyo, eCardio's vice president of information technology, in a statement.
With access to AT&T's network, doctors will be able to receive alerts on heart arrhythmias as the episodes happen. They can access the patient's data from any computer connected to the Internet.
AT&T says the product will allow hospitals, pharmacies, drug retailers and health insurers to reduce the costs for treating arrhythmia.
The eCardio product line includes mobile heart-monitoring devices such as the eCardio eVolution handset.
According to Jenny Bridges, an AT&T spokeswoman, providing wireless connectivity for heart monitors creates a new category of devices for consumers and businesses. "AT&T is driving the emergence of new categories of devices and applications that are enhanced by wireless network connectivity," Bridges wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK.
The partnership is one of a number of AT&T's initiatives in health care. AT&T provides the wireless connectivity for Vitality's electronic pill bottle cap, called the GlowCap.
Verizon Wireless also delivers wireless service to heart monitors, connecting LifeWatch's LifeStar PMP Wireless Tele-Diagnostic System. The LifeStar unit can screen for congestive heart failure, diabetes and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It features a touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity and plug-and-play functionality.