FDA approves, Medtronic launches the first remote monitoring pacemaker app

MyCareLink Smart Monitor--Courtesy of Medtronic

Now it's official: Smart devices can do everything.

Medtronic ($MDT) has launched the first app-based remote monitoring for implantable pacemakers. Remote monitoring of pacemakers has been the standard of care, but this next-gen version goes beyond a dedicated device to do so.

This is just the medical device giant's latest bid for smartphone and tablet connectivity. In September, Medtronic also nabbed FDA approval for and launched its MiniMed Connect, which links that insulin pump/continous glucose monitor to an app for remote monitoring and messaging.

The new MyCareLink Smart Monitor, just approved by the FDA via a supplemental PMA application, is a handheld portable device reader that connects the company's pacemakers to a corresponding smart device app available for Android and Apple devices. Via cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity, the monitor can securely transmit data to the Medtronic CareLink Network, a remote monitoring service that's already in use by more than one million cardiac device patients.

"Because the MyCareLink Smart Monitor is integrated into existing mobile platforms like smartphones and tablets, it is easy for patients to transmit data from their pacemakers to their doctors via the technology that they are using every day," Dr. George Crossley, associate professor of medicine and electrophysiologist at Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institution in Nashville, TN, said in a statement.

"This innovation will serve as the foundation for future advances using smart technology to support cardiac patients," he added. He also noted that remote monitoring of pacemakers and other cardiac devices results in faster diagnoses and better survival rates, as well as helping physicians to better manage their patients.

In addition, the MyCareLink Smart Monitor can enable confirmation of the date of its most recent pacemaker data transmission, a personalized profile on the MyCareLink Connect site where the patient can manage pacemaker data and transmissions, as well as email or text reminders, confirmations and notifications related to data transmissions.

"The use of smart technology continues to grow among people of all ages, and especially among people over 65 which is the age range of the majority of our pacemaker patients," Darrell Johnson, VP and GM of the Connected Care business in the Cardiac and Vascular Group at Medtronic said in a statement.

"Medtronic is committed to providing cardiac patients with the latest technology to improve their health and make their lives easier, while helping to reduce the costs of healthcare. The MyCareLink Smart Monitor is just the first of many innovative solutions we are developing that leverage smart technology to increase patient engagement," he added.

- here is the announcement