AliveCor patent, GymKit rollout, and more digital health news briefs

By Jonah Comstock
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AliveCor granted patent. Consumer ECG company AliveCor was granted a patent relevant to its KardiaBand and SmartRhythm system, which launched last week. Specifically, the patent is for using data from a wearable device to detect unusual heart rates and trigger an EKG, like SmartRhythm does to detect heart arrhythmias. Notably, the patent would also describe the work being done by Apple in its recently announced heart study with Stanford.

"Medical capture of asymptomatic heart arrhythmias is an ongoing challenge," Dr. David Albert, AliveCor founder and chief medical officer, who is listed as the inventor on the patent. "Holter monitors, implantable recorders, and patches, all present various levels of inconvenience and discomfort. Our technology suggests a future in which detection of heart arrhythmias can be non-invasive, ultra-convenient, and highly reliable."

Fitbit's medical aspirations. In , Fitbit confirmed it plans to seek FDA clearance for using the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch to screen for both sleep apnea and heart arrhythmias. This is also why Fitbit decided to participate in FDA's precertification program, CEO James Park told Wired. According to the article, Fitbit plans to compete with Apple in hospitals because its smartwatch works with non-iOS devices.

GymKit hits its first US gym. Apple's big wearables announcement this summer was around GymKit, an Apple Watch integration with exercise equipment that syncs the data from the machine with wearable sensor data to offer increased accuracy and consistency. But the integration has been slow to launch because gyms don't regularly replace their equipment. After launching earlier this year in a few gyms in Australia and the UK, GymKit is live in its first US location, Life Time Athletic Club in Manhattan. Presumably a larger rollout will happen gradually, with the technology eventually coming to home devices as well.

Virtual platform for surgical instruction. Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, a training and education center for medical professionals, launched B-Hive, a mobile-enabled tool for remote surgical training. The hardware includes cameras, microphones, and medical devices, and converts data from all three into a single stream that can be viewed on a mobile or desktop device by the learning surgeon.

“We saw the need for a device like the B-Hive when our production team would travel the country to help OR teams broadcast their physician’s surgeries," Digital Services Supervisor Steven Thekan, who co-created the platform, said in a statement. "Having a whole production team in the OR can be intrusive, distracting, and expensive, so we created an all-in-one solution to solve this problem."

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