With the substantial boom in telemedicine visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that virtual healthcare is here to stay. However, the medical world is still grappling with the right tools to make this a seamless transition. According to a 2020 study, telehealth use jumped up to 80 percent (from its previous stance at 1 percent) in places where infection was prevalent.
Still, the following roadblocks remained: HIPAA-compliant transference of medical record data, equitable distribution of telehealth services, and access to digital equipment suited to healthcare settings.
That’s where devices like portable electrocardiograms (EKGs) come into play. Particularly for patients with chronic heart conditions – who were one of the most at-risk groups during COVID-19’s peak – regular monitoring is critical. When working with this group, physicians need a way to auscultate with utmost precision and with the most advanced technology.
There are three popular portable EKGs on the market at the moment: the KardiaMobile by AliveCor, the COALA Heart Monitor System, and the Eko DUO.
KardiaMobile & COALA
The KardiaMobile and COALA are two reasonable, midrange options for remote heart monitoring. However, the one item to note with these tools is that they are intended for personal use. Meanwhile, more advanced options like the aforementioned Eko DUO are designed for medical professionals and even recommended for critical care environments.
Still, these are excellent alternatives for doctors to prescribe to patients as at-home heart monitoring systems, in which results can then be shared with their physicians remotely.
Simple and ultra-compact, the AliveCor KardiaMobile is favorable for patients that require regular remote heart monitoring. It has a reasonable starting price point of $78.99, though it does rely on a monthly subscription to utilize all of its features (either $9.99/mo or $99/yr).
This membership is required to receive access to its core features, which include:
- Detection of six most common arrhythmias
- Automated Heart Health Reports you can save, print, or send to your doctor
- Four annual complimentary Cardiologist Reviews of your EKG recordings
- Unlimited cloud storage
The AliveCor KardiaMobile operates as a portable touchpad that the patient simply places their fingertips on to obtain a reading.
Similar to the AliveCor KardiaMobile, the COALA is commonly prescribed for at-home patient use. However, it’s slightly more advanced than its counterpart.
Some features include:
- Broader scale health insurance coverage (which is why patients won’t find pricing on site)
- Frequently used as a 30-day event monitor for longer term consistent (as opposed to occasional) monitoring
- Detection of nine most common arrhythmias
- Pay-per-use, no upfront costs
- Also provides lung auscultation
With its patient-centric model, the COALA is a good tool for physicians to know. Stethoscope.com has carefully evaluated the market and distributes the Eko DUO.
Why Choose Eko DUO
Without a doubt, the Eko DUO is the market leader for portable EKG devices. It is purpose-built for telehealth, offers superior noise cancellation, provides up to 32x sound amplification, and is made with physicians in mind.
Its unique attributes include:
- 2-in-1 Capabilities: You wear it like a stethoscope, but you use it like an EKG. No need to carry around a second tool. Now you can do the job with one!
- Automatically detects atrial fibrillation, heart murmurs, and different arrhythmias (including bradycardia and tachycardia)
- Designed for clinician/healthcare setting use
- HIPAA-compliant sharing and live streaming to Eko app, where recordings are stored
- Comes with a centralized provider web dashboard where all recorded assessments are centralized
- Allows for easy communication between providers so that recordings can be easily accessed by patient’s entire healthcare team and further reviewed or annotated
Furthermore, the Eko DUO offers a solution to the problem of unequally distributed access to telehealth services. Dr. Antoine Keller, a Cardiovascular, Thoracic and Endovascular Surgeon at Baton Rouge General Hospital, discusses how he uses the Eko DUO to assess the prevalence of heart disease in disadvantaged communities through his Heart-Sense Structural Heart Disparities Project. This Louisiana non-profit is committed to screening as many people as possible for heart issues while also educating underserved and underprivileged populations about the warning signs.
“We feel that heart valve disease is a wellness issue that is going to be increasingly important as the population ages,” Dr. Keller explains. “By employing the Eko DUO attachment we are able to dramatically improve diagnostic accuracy and will undoubtedly identify patients with valvular heart disease earlier in the disease process, in an effort to obviate heart failure admissions from undiagnosed heart disease. In addition, the dual function, performance and flexibility of these tools allow us to refine diagnoses in morbidly obese patients and patients with a large body habitus which have historically been very difficult to assess.”
There’s no doubt the Eko DUO is the powerhouse of the portable EKG industry, helping physicians take telemedicine solutions to the next level for a more integrated approach to healthcare.