toSense is a startup based in San Diego, California, and the company has quietly created a device that can monitor a patient’s heart at home. The CoVa Monitoring device is worn like a necklace, and communicates wirelessly either to a base unit or an Android smartphone or tablet. These forward the data to a cloud-based system where the information is stored, analyzed, and reported.
The sensor only needs to be worn for about five minutes at a time, while it takes a variety of vital sign measurements using sophisticated signal processing. The device measures heart rate, heart rate variability, chest fluid levels, respiration rate, skin temperature, and even posture. The company intends to add stroke volume and cardiac output measurements as well in the future. The big news is that the CoVa system has received FDA approval.
The system has the potential to save lives and lower healthcare costs. Physicians and other healthcare professionals can monitor the heart values of discharged patients. It is especially helpful for patients with heart failure, as it can identify problems days before fluid build-up and weight gain become noticeable. As a result, corrective treatment can be applied early, which can avoid a hospital readmission. With Medicare assessing penalties for the readmission of patients with certain illnesses, this system can mean better outcomes for patients while the hospitals save money.