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Customer Experience and Design

The iPhonECG – Empowering Patients with Specialized Medical Data

The above video is a sneak preview of AliveCor’s iPhonECG, and is brought to us by, a brand new site devoted to categorizing, describing, and organizing medical apps. The iPhonECG has gotten a lot of well-deserved press, with many commentators remarking that the device is “proof that we are living in the future.” Indeed, the iPhonECG has a lot of potential and is an example of a technology that can help patients participate in their own healthcare.

The brilliance of the iPhoneECG is that, since it’s coupled to the one device people tend to bring everywhere, it dramatically increases the odds that a person who may be experiencing some abnormal heart rhythms will actually capture a recording of it. Once the rhythm is recorded, patients are empowered with data that they can present to their physician and ask, “Please take a look at this rhythm–is there anything going on here?”

I think that the iPhonECG, like less-specialized connected health and wellness devices, could help drive the adoption of PHRs and EHRs. However, I think that there’s an even greater potential for specialized devices like the iPhonECG to directly demonstrate their clinical value. For example, the iPhonECG may allow a patient who is taking an active role in her own health to document an arrhythmia earlier and with less cost and hassle than relying solely on traditional means (a physician-prescribed Holter monitor or 12-lead ECG). This could in turn lead to earlier intervention and treatment and maybe even improved outcomes. In this respect, the iPhonECG is not so much a replacement for traditional means of arrhythmia detection but rather a supplement that gives the person that spends the most time with the patient–the patient herself–the tools to monitor her own heart rhythm and ultimately improve her own health.

With powerful yet easy-to-use specialized tools such as the iPhonECG, patients have yet another incentive to get involved in their own healthcare.

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Christopher Monnier

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