Qardio's smart, wearable solutions provide users daily, continuous heart and health monitoring.

The QardioCore and QardioArm are revolutionary,cardiovascular monitoring systems that provide consumers with daily updates of their health. Photo Credit: QardioIn an effort to provide remote monitoring solutions to doctors so they can be more efficient while minimizing costs and the consequences that come with waiting until a diagnosis is too late, San Francisco-based Qardio has introduced the QardioArm and QardioCore wearable monitoring devices.

“All cardiovascular conditions are chronic in nature,” explains Marco Peluso, CEO and co-founder of Qardio. “This means that you can never really treat them, but only try to manage them. When we started, we asked ourselves, how can we focus on wellness rather than trying to fix sickness when it’s too late?”

The QardioCore and QardioArm are smart, wearable solutions that provide users with daily, continuous heart and health monitoring, allowing them to live longer, healthier lives. These smart devices also give families the opportunity to check on their loved ones at anytime, from anywhere, as well as help make routine, in-person physician visits more efficient by allowing health professionals to place focus on what is most important.

“By bringing usability advantages of consumer electronic devices to medical devices, patients now have a way to take care of themselves in a smarter and healthier way, that is less doctor-centric and more affordable,” says Peluso. “These devices, and the new ways in which medical devices will increasingly be designed, are also getting others involved in more constructive ways, which can be very beneficial in the long run. Their development required a multi-disciplinary effort involving hardware, software, design, and medical expertise.”

Smarter Health

Both the QardiArm and QardioCore are designed for anyone interested in smarter healthcare. While the devices have the ability to communicate with each other, they are entirely independent from one another. “The condition of a patient and the type of information that needs to be analyzed determines which device is most appropriate,” says Peluso.

The QardioArm is a blood pressure monitor that makes it simple and convenient to measure one’s blood pressure on a daily basis. Patients even have the opportunity to enjoy soothing images on their Qardio app to calm stress levels during the measurement, and they can schedule reminders so they don’t forget a measurement. The QardioArm app also provides feedback with simple charts that track users’ progress.

The QardioCore is a revolutionary core strap that continuously monitors ECG, heart rate, physical activity, and skin temperature to help improve the diagnosis of certain cardiac conditions. Patients and doctors are able to track their heart condition on a daily basis with an elegant product that is form-fitting and simple to use.

Continuous Wireless Monitoring

Both monitoring devices connect wirelessly to iOS devices and Qardio's secure, integrated platform, providing readable and personalized view of their health that is automatically uploaded and made available to authorized doctors and loved ones.

“For each of the devices to wirelessly communicate to iOS devices, they include three main components: a radio, microprocessors, and bio sensors,” explains Peluso. “The microprocessors analyze and process the data. With the QardioCore, the processing of signals from the biosensors on the user’s body happens on a continuous basis. The computing power that you can pack in these low-power microprocessor architectures is incredible, it’s comparable to what you had in your desktop computer only a few years ago.”

Each device consumes power at different rates due to the amount of data they collect and transmit, so their power sources differentiate from one another. The QardioArm uses four, 1.5-volt triple-A batteries, while the QardioCore uses a Lithium-ion polymer battery, the same power source found in smartphones. The Lithium-ion battery provides up to 14 hours of use between charges, and has a USB micro-charging cable.

“The QardioCore is a lot more sophisticated from an electronic development point of view, because it has sensors to measure body temperature, accelerometers to measure physical activity intensity, and a number of sensors to detect the EKG trace and the beat-by-beat heart rate,” says Peluso. “The QardioArm measures the blood pressure and heart rate of the patient, so there is only one sensor incorporated into the device to measure both.”

By providing a wireless monitoring solution, patients do not have to keep returning to the hospital for tests that require electrodes to be attached to the body with patches and conductive gels. Instead, they are able to monitor their health from anywhere at any time, at a much more affordable cost, and they are directly connected to their doctor who can provide advice or instructions.

Integrated Platform

All of the collected data from the gets wirelessly transferred to the Qardio Internet Platform, where it is analyzed and made available to the patient, the patient’s family, and the patient’s primary doctor and/or cardiologist.

“Having the data collected in the cloud helps to organize it and present it in comprehensive and visually engaging charts,” says Peluso.

The platform is designed so not just individual consumers and doctors can access the information, but so larger health institutions can connect to the cloud and access the necessary information needed for a proper diagnosis.

Both the QardioArm and QardioCore use Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which employs all the bandwidth and security protocols that are important for wireless communication and help to keep things as simple as possible. The benefit of Bluetooth 4.0 is that it is robust, secure, low power, and readily integrated in tens of millions of handheld devices.

Empowering Doctors

According to Peluso, the Qardio monitoring devices empower doctors in two very impactful ways. With the monitoring devices, health professionals have a much richer and larger set of data available to them to help them perform their work. “With traditional technology, it is difficult to diagnose certain medical conditions due to the lack of continuous monitoring,” says Peluso. “By providing a much wider coverage in terms of time and by tracking the contextual conditions that the patient is in, doctors now have the ability to diagnose a patient’s condition sooner.”

By providing remote monitoring of patients, the devices help cut back on the time spent on routine check-ups, giving health professionals the opportunity to focus on the patients who may require more immediate attention. Peluso also points out how the Qardio devices allow for a much wider patient base among a fewer number of doctors, which is crucial for decreasing the costs of healthcare.

This article appeared in the September/October print issue.

Watch a HotSpot exclusive video featuring the Qardio Monitoring System.