Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Omron debuts heart monitoring double at CES

Steve Rogerson
January 16, 2018



In pursuit of its mission to eliminate heart attack and stroke, Illinois-based Omron Healthcare debuted two devices at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The HeartGuide is said to be the first wearable oscillometric wrist blood pressure monitor, and the first single at-home device in the USA that measures blood pressure and ECG.
 
Omron also previewed its connect app, which syncs with the firm’s connected devices so consumers can store, track and share heart health data with their doctors for better treatment and better outcomes.
 
"The innovation and firsts we are unveiling at CES show that we are focused on – and investing in – our mission of going for zero, the elimination of heart attack and stroke," said Omron Healthcare president Ranndy Kellogg. "According to the new scientific guidelines on blood pressure, 103 million Americans are now in the hypertensive range. With these new devices, Omron Healthcare offers a range of blood pressure monitors to meet the needs and preferences of every one of them."
 
The wearable oscillometric wrist blood pressure monitor comes in the form of a wristwatch with an inflatable cuff built into the watch band. It uses oscillometric measurement – the inflation of a cuff to measure systolic and diastolic pressure – which is still the only FDA-recognised standard for accurate, automated blood pressure measurement at home.
 
The company has made advancements in design and comfort over the wrist wearable prototype previewed last year. It has filed more than 50 technology patents on the components developed for the HeartGuide, including miniaturisation of blood pressure pumps, valves and chips that has never been achieved previously. Some of the pumps and valves in the device are no larger than a grain of rice.
 
Engineers used a flexible synthetic material five times stronger than steel to create the watchband. This rare material, which is used in the airbags of Nasa's Mars Lander, is strong yet flexible, allowing the band to inflate to take a reading while withstanding air pressure and maintaining its shape to ensure accurate measurement. This marks the first time this material has been used in a commercial health device.
 
"The wearable HeartGuide tracks sleep quality, and can be programmed to take a blood pressure reading while you sleep," said Kellogg. “Heart attack risk is higher in the last phase of sleep and in the morning. Checking blood pressure during sleep is an important option for hypertensive patients and an advancement in our pursuit of going for zero.”
 
The HeartGuide will be submitted for FDA review later this year and will be clinically validated before it arrives for retail purchase.
 
The blood pressure monitor and ECG are for use at home. According to the CDC, six million Americans have atrial fibrillation (AFib). Their stroke risk is five times higher. The monitor plus ECG has the ability to monitor two critical risk factors for stroke.
 
"Previously, heart arrhythmia and blood pressure could not be easily measured together, outside of a doctor's office or hospital," said Kellogg. “The Omron blood pressure monitor plus ECG allows people who have AFib, and are at a higher risk of stroke, to gain stronger insights into their condition and more control over the risks that come with it. Now, those with AFib can gain a more complete picture of their heart health from a single device. And they can do it anytime, at home.”
 
Omron developed this heart health technology with AliveCor, which specialises in FDA-cleared ECG technology. The monitor will also be submitted to the FDA later this year and will be clinically validated before it is available for retail purchase.
 
Omron also previewed a version of its smartphone app, which syncs via Bluetooth with its connected heart health devices, including the HeartGuide, blood pressure monitor plus ECG and the Evolv blood pressure monitor. The app lets users store, track and share their heart health data with their doctors for deeper heart health insights, which can lead to better treatment, and better outcomes.
 
The app can store data collected by Omron connected devices, including blood pressure, ECG and heart rate. Its easy-to-navigate interface has an intuitive dashboard that charts and graphs data – viewable by day, week, month or year – so users can keep close watch on their heart health trends.
 
"The Omron connect app encourages meaningful behaviour change and more patient-doctor dialogue," said Kellogg. “With the app, users are encouraged to monitor their blood pressure regularly, to track their data over time and to share them with their doctors. More readings and more accurate data can be invaluable in making lifestyle and treatment changes, and preventing cardiac events.”
 
The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple iOS or Google Play stores from February 2018.
 
In the past year, the company has developed heart health technologies, launching a national education campaign, and forming partnerships with like-minded companies such as AliveCor, combining their collective strengths to achieve new category breakthroughs.
 
"Hypertension means increased risk for heart attack and stroke," said Kellogg. “Millions of people don't know they have high blood pressure and are not aware of the risk they live with every day. The journey to better heart health begins with regular blood pressure monitoring.”