iRhythm is a company focusing on developing devices to capture and diagnose cardiac rhythms using creative designs that simplify the cardiac monitoring processes. Recently, Medgadget had the opportunity to interview Kevin King, the CEO of the growing firm about its products and the technology that powers them.
Ronney Shantouf, Medgadget: iRhythm was born out of the Stanford University’s Biodesign Program. Can you tell us more about the company and its inspirational start?
Kevin King, iRhythm Tech: iRhythm was started in 2006 by Uday Kumar MD and a multi-disciplinary group of business school graduates and engineers while attending the Stanford BioDesign program. They came together to solve a clear need for actionable diagnosis of patients presenting symptoms indicative of cardiac arrhythmias.
The historic approach to diagnosing arrhythmias has been ineffective and costly – multiple patient visits inconclusive tests and misdiagnosis due to a lack of information. As our understanding of the impact of untreated arrhythmias deepens, the need for an actionable diagnosis becomes increasingly important.
At Stanford BioDesign, our founder designed the Zio Patch System around the goal of creating an efficient and cost-effective diagnostic tool to assist individual patients efficiently and to inform cardiologists with the data we are now able amass and analyze.
Medgadget: Your products, the Zio Patch and Zio Event Card, offer patients the opportunity to record and capture arrhythmias in an outpatient setting. Can you tells us more about the two products and how they differ.
King: iRhythm Technologies is an information service company focused on the goal of providing simple, innovative and cost-effective diagnostic monitoring solutions for patients with cardiac arrhythmias. Both products combine unobtrusive form factor devices with iRhythm’s standardized expert analysis of the data collected.
The Zio® Patch System, iRhythm’s flagship device, consists of a continuous cardiac monitor worn for up to 14 days and an analyzable report compiled by iRhythm’s Clinical Team and delivered to the treating physician.
Similarly, the Zio Event Card System consists of a single-use event monitor, but can be worn for up to 30-days. Instead of continuous monitoring, patients push a button to start ECG recording when they begin to feel an abnormal heartbeat. The Zio Event Card holds two patient-activated recordings at a time, delivering a report every time a patient transmits a recording.
Our portfolio of arrhythmia detection devices is designed to facilitate early diagnosis with the goal of improving patient health outcomes, for individuals and reducing wasteful spending.
Medgadget: How are the iRhythm products different than traditional holter or event monitors?
King: When designing Zio® products and service models, we spent a lot of time listening to physicians describe what was working and what wasn’t regarding cardiac arrhythmia monitoring. The patient-centric design of the Zio monitors is intended to limit the number of tests and decrease the amount of time it currently takes to diagnose a patient. Our service and the resulting diagnostic reports are designed to curate large amounts of data into a presentation that enhances the efficiency of physician review and interpretation.
Recent peer review data has demonstrated that the Zio Patch system has the potential to impact clinical decision making for patients with arrhythmias as compared to traditional Holter monitoring. The combination of improved patient compliance and longer-term monitoring of the Zio Patch System led to a medical management change in 28% of study patients.
Medgadget: Now the Zio products are uniquely environmentally friendly. Can you expand on iRhythm’s goal to recycle 100% of each device that is returned to the company.
King: The ambulatory cardiac monitoring industry uses tens of thousands of disposable AA or AAA batteries each year to power their devices. At a time when companies in our industry are filling landfills with batteries, lead wires and antiquated or broken devices, we took a radically different approach. iRhythm designed Zio devices from the ground up with the environment in mind. Our goal is that no part of our device or materials will end up in a landfill.
Currently our packaging is 90-100% recyclable using recycled materials and soy ink, and we recycle 100% of each device returned to us. The recycled Zio devices may be used for park benches, golf clubs, plastic and regenerated into batteries.
Medgadget: What is the future direction of iRhythm over the course of the next 5 – 10 years?
King: We are still in the early stages of developing long-term company strategy, but our goal now, and in the long term, remains – to revolutionize the way cardiac arrhythmias are diagnosed and treated. We began selling our Zio Patch in early 2011 and have experienced rapid adoption by large health systems, physician practices and hospitals across the country, which shows a real understanding of the need to reduce costs and improve diagnostic yields. As we move forward we will continue to invest in expanded clinical indications of use for products and invest in new generations of devices and information technology that support our primary objective.
Link: iRhythm Technologies…