Pioneering ‘HeartPhone’ to revolutionise healthcare

26 Apr 2010

A connected healthcare solution that measures, monitors and manages the weight of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients in their own homes was awarded the coveted ‘Product Innovation Award’ at the Aramark Healthcare innovation awards over the weekend.

The accolade recognises HeartPhone, developed at Dublin’s National Digital Research Centre in collaboration with medical professionals from around Dublin, as an exemplary innovative healthcare solution for 2010.

HeartPhone, a system devised to help CHF patients actively participate in managing their own condition accurately, is being developed at NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) as a collaboration between Dr Mark Ledwidge and Prof Ken McDonald of St Vincent’s University Hospital and Crofton Cardiac Systems, BiancaMed Ltd, NDRC and UCD.

The HeartPhone product is a technology-based connected healthcare solution. Each patient is provided with Bluetooth-enabled weighing scales. By using the scales daily in their own home, the patients’ weight data will be automatically transferred by mobile phone to the hospital for analysis by a cardiac clinician.

HeartPhone helps clinicians

It is a traffic light warning system alerting the clinician to specific trends and issues, thereby allowing early intervention. It is non-invasive, easy to use, and early results show the system is reducing the number of visits to hospital by CHF patients.

“NDRC and our collaborative partners on HeartPhone are delighted to win this award,” said NDRC CEO Ben Hurley.

“The ‘Product Innovation Award’ recognises innovative and ground-breaking solutions that bring essential technology-based services or products to the healthcare sector; this endorsement of HeartPhone reflects the global potential of this product.

“We have always recognised that HeartPhone was a good fit with NDRC’s goal to create value to the benefit of innovators and the economy. We identified the commercial ‘gap’ and partnership requirements in the HeartPhone project, and NDRC is filling that gap through providing commercial development expertise, the right environment for collaborative innovation and investment, offering industry and research expertise with a clear commercial focus.”

Prof Ken McDonald commented, “To win this award is to win validation from our industry and peers for HeartPhone; we are honoured that HeartPhone has been recognised as an innovative provision of healthcare.

“Our ultimate aim was to improve patient care through a connected health solution; this has been achieved with our collaborative partnership and support from NDRC,” McDonald said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: National Digital Research Centre CEO Ben Hurley

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years