New app monitors heart rate, respiration

January 24, 2013 in Medical Technology

There’s a new app that can help caregivers and clinicians monitor the heart rate and respiratory activity of a patient; it’s called SecuraFone, powered by Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based SecuraTrac.

According to SecuraTrac’s CEO Chris Holbert (pictured below right), the app is “a one-of-a-kind mobile application built to save lives.” It can run on iPhone and Android mobile devices and also has the ability to prevent the use of text messaging, email and others while the device is in motion. This is a safety aspect of the device that interests parents who want to prevent their children from texting while driving.

SecuraFone offers “real-time health monitoring” through a small patch worn on the chest, transferring the information to the cloud, and to any number of parties to whom the user wishes to give access–via email or smart phone. The user can see the same information on his or her phone, which has a GPS tracking system and fall detection.

“It’s robust, but it’s really easy to use,” says Holbert of the app’s capability to provide trending information as well as provide real-time information.

The app was released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, and will be available for purchase April 1. “It’s fully tested,” says Holbert, who says that, while the app does not need FDA approval to go on the market, SecuraTrac is going to apply for it anyway. According to estimates made by benchmarking other similar companies, Holbert expects the process to take around three months. 

Kerry McDermott, the former director of healthcare for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now senior director of health care technology policy for West Health Institute, a non-profit organization focused on lowering healthcare costs, where she works on a regular basis with the FDA.

The FDA has not wanted to limit the innovation of small companies, and drag them down in long-term and expensive approval processes, she says.

“If the app can make your phone into a stethoscope, for example, then that app needs to be regulated.” Apps that have healthcare implications, but are not actual devices, meanwhile, FDA is not regulating.



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