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Support for Heart Rhythm Society guidelines helping patients better understand the value of wearable devices in heart monitoring

February 5, 2020

New guidelines released by the Heart Rhythm Society and the Consumer Technology Association have warned people against using commercially available non-presciption cardiac and blood pressure monitoring devices as “a substitute for medical devices prescribed by a clinician”.

The guidelines also advised that if abnormal heart conditions were detected, it was crucial to consult a health professional. While the groups recognised the devices as a starting point to understanding health better with access to real-time health data, there remained potential for varying data accuracy and false readings.

Cardiac Monitoring Service supports the Heart Rhythm Society’s guidance on wearable devices, given the growth of the industry over the last five years. The health and fitness industry revenue has almost doubled in this period, from $7.6 billion USD in 2015, to a predicted $13.1 USD billion in 2020 worldwide.

Furthermore, 55% of consumers want the ability to track their blood pressure in their wearable devices, as well as 49% looking to have the ability to monitor heart health. Keeping on top of health is becoming a key focus for many consumers, as is the active participation in one’s health, through tracking daily activity, sharing daily activity with the community, and sharing personal health information with a health professional without being prompted.

One of the members of the panel that wrote the guidance document, Nasir F. Marrouche MD, said that the guidelines reflected a shift in the way that people think about their health. “This is a new reality in medicine; the direction of information is changing. Consumers are collecting data themselves and coming to physicians already informed.

There is a new shift in how information is collected, shared, and used.” Patients are learning more about their health, and it’s important that health professionals are able to provide them the necessary guidance once they have detected a suspected issue.

Cardiac Monitoring Service Medical Director Associate Professor Harry Mond said that ECG electrocardiographic features on wearable devices were helpful in raising patient awareness to paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or other cardiac arrhythmias but were unable to provide diagnostic quality heart data or detect other significant heart related issues.

“New Holter technology can be worn by patients for up to 14 days and record continuously over multiple channels, which ensures accurate detection and diagnosis,” he said.

“The quality of the traces of data collected in such cardiac studies significantly improves patient care and has the potential to reduce stroke and heart related deaths.”

He commended efforts made to clarify the issue of wearables in relation to cardiac health outcomes.

Consumer technology and health continue to intersect, and it remains important to provide guidance to patients when they present with health results derived from wearable devices and guide them to the most appropriate medical solution available.

You can read the full guidelines here: Guidance for Wearable Health Solutions

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