AT&T, device maker join for real-time monitoring of heart patients

Another major telecommunications company is making a big move into mobile healthcare. AT&T is teaming up with medical device manufacturer eCardio Diagnostics to embed machine-to-machine wireless data connectivity into heart monitors for near-real-time monitoring of heart patients. (We also hear that Verizon has an announcement planned for Wednesday, but that's about all we can say on that subject right now.)

The eCardio system is meant to allow patients to recover from heart surgery at home instead of spending days in expensive, uncomfortable hospital beds. Clinicians can access data from the cardiac monitors through any computer or smartphone with an Internet connection, InformationWeek reports.

"AT&T is helping us implement innovative mobile technologies that are transforming the field of diagnostic medicine and advancing arrhythmia treatments," Andrew Arroyo, vice president of information technology for Houston-based eCardio, says in a press release, according to InformationWeek. "AT&T delivered the expertise and services we needed to create an end-to-end mobility solution that improves the patient experience and physician productivity."

Irene Berlinsky, a research analyst for IDC, says the AT&T-eCardio partnership demonstrates how telecommunications firms view remote patient monitoring and other forms of telehealth as a wonderful business opportunity and notes that both companies stand to benefit.

"Telecommunications providers like AT&T provide the wireless, [machine-to-machine] connectivity necessary for telehealth to function. They are pursuing a variety of opportunities and business models in the space, one of which is to partner with technology makers like eCardio to deliver remote monitoring," Berlinsky is quoted as saying. "Such partnerships benefit the telco provider by opening up a new market, and they benefit the technology vendor whose solution is optimized to function on the wireless network."

To learn more about the partnership and the technology:
- take a look at this InformationWeek story