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Summary:

The AliveCor monitor communicates with a companion app, which can connect patients with professionals for an ECG analysis within 24 hours.

AliveCor heart monitor
photo: AliveCor

Whether it’s monitoring glucose, connecting patients to doctors or just a resource for Googling symptoms, the smartphone is becoming an important healthcare tool. AliveCor, a heart monitor, just joined the ranks of smartphone-connected healthcare accessories available over the counter after receiving FDA approval this week.

Until now, the AliveCor heart monitor, which works with both iPhone and Android, was only available via a prescription. It can take the form of a phone case or independent device. A patient rests their fingers on it, generating a reading of their heart rate and rhythm, known as an ECG.

There are plenty of heart monitors available over the counter already, including dirt-cheap watches that can be worn during physical activity. AliveCor’s big advantage is a companion app with which the monitor wirelessly communicates. Patients can use it to view their results and send them to their physician, a cardiac technician or a cardiologist. If it’s one of the latter, the patient receives an analysis of their results within 24 hours. Depending on the level of service selected, this costs between $2 and $12.

While the device isn’t meant to diagnose a heart attack, it can be used to help diagnose a heart problem or monitor for trouble after a patient is diagnosed. The heart monitors are available for pre-order for $199 and will ship in March.