EKG Transmission via Cell Phone Sends Strong Signal to Medical Community

Germany's Vitaphone has launched a handset that can record heart-activity data when pressed to a patient's chest and transmit it to doctors

ceBIT America 2004Vitaphone's (Booth #3732) world premiere at CeBIT America opens new horizons in telemedicine, allowing heart patients to instantaneously send EKGs to physicians or EMTs.

Germany-based Vitaphone GmbH was founded in 1999 with the goal of developing technologies for transmission of biosignals and biochemical parameters with modern communications technologies integrated into innovative telemedicine service concepts. With global patents for key technologies for the transmission of biosignal data via mobile telephone, the company is the market leader in the telemedicine sector and is setting new standards.

In April, 2004, together with its partner, Vodafone D2, and the Charité University Clinic in Berlin, Vitaphone was able to successfully demonstrate for the first time in the world the transmission of EKG data via UMTS.


  The telemedicine applications in the indication areas of cardiology and hypertension cover the areas of diagnostics and monitoring as well as the area of emergency care for high-risk cardiology patients. In connection with the medical service center of Vitaphone, the use of telemedicine tools makes possible efficient patient monitoring and management. The additional drug-reminder function, with which patients are regularly reminded to take their prescribed medications, promotes compliance and simultaneously improves the quality of the therapy results.

Over the medium term, this results in a significant reduction of the costs. Experts have calculated that the consistent use of telemedicine services could save between 10% and 30% of the medical care costs for chronically ill patients per year while simultaneously improving the quality of diagnosis, therapy, and care. In addition, telemedicine opens up new perspectives for those involved with regard to mobility, safety, and quality of care.

With the Vitaphone 2300 (Cardio Phone®), Vitaphone is presenting a completely new innovation to the world: It is now possible for the first time to record, save, and digitally transmit 3-channel EKGs via mobile telephone and without cables or adhesive electrodes. The EKG is obtained via electrodes on the back of the mobile telephone. To this end, it is simply placed against the naked chest of the patient.


  The EKG recording is started with the press of a button and takes place completely automatically. The same is true of the transmission of the EKG to the medical service center of Vitaphone, which is staffed around the clock with doctors and where the EKG is evaluated and forwarded to the treating physicians while the patient is supplied with immediate support.

In an emergency, the medical service center alerts the emergency medical services. The global positioning system receiver (GPS) integrated into the Vitaphone 2300 also allows the medical service center to precisely determine the position of the patient via satellite in the event of an emergency. The center then alerts the competent emergency medical services center to dispatch an ambulance or mobile intensive care unit. High-risk patients in particular can be given optimal care thanks to telemedicine.

A study of approximately 1,000 calls to the medical service center shows how effectively the system functions: Four cardiac infarctions and three cases of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias were diagnosed, the ambulance alerted, and all patients reached the clinic within 90 minutes of the start of their complaint. An average of 44 minutes passed between the occurrence of the initial complaint and the activation of the emergency services network by the medical service center. All thanks to the approximately 66% reduction in patient decision time, a time savings that could, in some cases, save lives.

By Jim Charos from CeBIT

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