SPRINGFIELD — A medical device only slightly larger than a stick of gum could help Prairie Cardiovascular patients avoid unnecessary visits to doctors and emergency rooms and alert health care providers to potentially worrisome heart rhythms.
The wireless Kardia Mobile device, which links to patients’ smartphones and can immediately transmit one-lead, 30-second electrocardiograms to doctors, will be offered to thousands of patients of the Springfield-based cardiology group beginning in August.
As part of a partnership between Prairie and the maker of the device — AliveCor Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. — Prairie doctors will use the technology to monitor patients for early detection of atrial fibrillation and other heart-rhythm problems. Atrial fibrillation leads to a five times’ greater risk of stroke, Prairie doctors said.
The goal, they said, is to give doctors the opportunity to add or adjust medicines and take other steps to help patients avoid strokes, heart attacks and other heart-related events.
“Early diagnosis is important,” said Dr. Ziad Issa, a Prairie cardiologist and executive director of cardiac electrophysiology at HSHS St. John’s Hospital’s Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois.
AliveCor’s Kardia Mobile device, especially when incorporated into a large physician practice such as Prairie’s, represents the latest in 21st-century care because of its convenience, said Doug Biehn, AliveCor’s chief operating officer.
“The health care system is not designed for consumers,” he said. “This enables patients to be more engaged and participate in their care. That’s profound, and that’s industry-leading. Everybody goes where their phone goes.”
The mobile device costs $100 and isn’t yet covered by health insurance.
Prairie patients who are offered the device will need to pay for it out of pocket, or through their flex-spending or health savings…