February 15, 2022 – The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) have announced the first-ever industry framework to evaluate and give guidance for consumer devices or applications designed to improve cardiovascular health. CTA and ACC have convened health and technology industry leaders to advance guidance and best practices for cardiovascular health technology developers and companies. The goal of the project is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease on patients and health care systems – allowing more people to access better cardiovascular care while freeing valuable public health resources.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives every year according to the CDC. U.S. spending on cardiovascular disease has steadily increased over the last 20 years to over $100 billion per year, mostly from costs related to ischemic heart disease, heart failure, stroke and hypertension.
Best Practices for Consumer Cardiovascular Technology Solutions
“Health tech companies will be in a better position than ever to improve cardiovascular technology with a roadmap to integration for clinicians and their practices,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “We have seen enormous breakthroughs in medical technology in the last decade alone, better cardiovascular devices are essential in improving global health and saving lives through stronger preventative care.”
The framework targets the use of consumer cardiovascular technology solutions for prevention, screening, diagnosis and health management or treatment. This guidance gives health tech companies a framework to manufacture products that allow clinicians to confidently integrate cardio technology into their practices. Consumer Cardiovascular Technology Solutions facilitate ongoing cardiovascular health promotion, disease detection and care management, instead of patients solely relying on intermittent and costly clinical visits.
“Use of digital technologies, including consumer wearables and apps for monitoring heart health, is widespread and has the capability to transform how clinicians work with their patients to treat and prevent heart disease,” said Ritu Thamman, MD, FACC, ACC Innovation Work Group member. “By working with our colleagues on all sides of technology to ensure we are implementing these technologies safely and effectively, we’re helping clinicians use the latest technologies in a way that ensures their patients receive the highest quality care and live better, healthier lives.”
Practical uses for Consumer Cardiovascular Technology Solutions include:
- Prevention: Consumer devices can monitor physical activity and heart rate to help promote healthy behaviors and give clinicians insights into the cardiovascular health of their patients. Consumer cardiovascular technology also allows clinicians to potentially identify areas of risk sooner.
- Screening/Diagnosis: Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm. It affects about 6 million Americans and is a major cause of stroke. Cardiovascular Technology Solutions can be used to detect the presence of an irregular rhythm that is potentially AFib and prompt the user to confirm the diagnosis with a clinician.
- Health Management/Treatment: For people undergoing cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), the first 6-8 months is especially critical to ensure the timely recovery. Wearables that can monitor physical activity and heartrate accurately and remotely are useful tools for home-based cardiac rehab. Leveraging these technologies can help overcome some of the barriers patients face with on-site rehab programs while expanding the breadth and depth of monitoring.
The framework also accounts for the need to protect consumer data rights and privacy. Health technology solutions need to capture comprehensive and privacy sensitive information about their users. But this data can sometimes be aggregated, analyzed, shared or sold in ways that are poorly disclosed or understood. By adhering to industry privacy guidelines, mobile technology developers can ensure that their solutions optimally protect consumers’ privacy, promote trust and mitigate perceived risks about the use and sharing of data.
The project is the first collaboration between the ACC and CTA to create best practices for evaluating Consumer Cardiovascular Technology Solutions. CTA is collaborating with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) through participation in the ACC’s Applied Health Innovation Consortium for the purpose of building a roadmap for Artificial Intelligence and digital technology in cardiology. The Consortium brings together academic, clinical, industry and technology partners and patient advocates to collaborate in the digital transformation of healthcare.