The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is a British Department of Health and Social Care to provide guidance and promote clinical excellence in NHS service providers in England and Wales.
This well-respected public body in the UK recently recommended using the AliveCor KardiaMobile to diagnose suspected paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation. Patients who present symptoms such as palpitations are usually referred for ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring by a doctor. KardiaMobile is indicated as an alternative to Holter monitoring for identifying atrial fibrillation (AF).
The reasons that motivated NICE’s decision are exciting in a world where access to portable digital health devices and ECG monitoring has never been as easy.
According to NICE studies:
- Clinical evidence reveals that the KardiaMobile single-lead device detected AF in more people than a standard Holter monitor. The clinical evidence was based on 27 studies, including five randomized controlled trials.
- Cost modeling demonstrates that KardiaMobile saves an average of £13.22 (approximately $18) per patient over two years compared to a Holter monitor in patients presenting with symptoms such as palpitations. KardiaMobile saves money by lowering diagnostic expenses, including the cost of the device. The cost savings were supported by 2 UK studies representing NHS costs.
What are the benefits of KardiaMobile according to NICE?
KardiaMobile is simple to use, is small and portable, and may be used to capture an ECG at any time of day. ECG recordings can be made available to healthcare providers immediately rather than at the end of a predetermined monitoring period.
According to NICE, Adults can use the KardiaMobile cardiac monitor and Kardia app to identify abnormal heart rhythms. A healthcare expert would prescribe KardiaMobile to those with arrhythmia symptoms that occur more than 24 hours apart.
The healthcare practitioner will determine the frequency and duration of usage. According to the directions for usage, all ECG interpretations should be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner and used to assist clinical decision-making.
Conclusion and next steps
The recommendation of Nice to use AliveCor KardiaMobile for the detection of Atrial Fibrillation is interesting as many providers are now integrating ECG capabilities in their various devices.
Single lead electrocardiograms are now available in numerous smartwatches and fitness trackers such as the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Sense, the Fitbit Charge 5, or the latest Galaxy Watch 4. However, these devices have somehow not yet been recommended by governmental health bodies.
The recommendation of NICE to use the KardiaMobile may be a game-changer for numerous makers, including Withings that announced its latest smart scale, the Body Scan, that also includes a six leads ECG.
The key for the wide adoption of such devices is for the diagnostics always to be confirmed by cardiologists and for the devices not to be seen as medical gadgets but as real medical devices carrying quantifiable benefits both in terms of diagnostics and costs.