A little over a week ago, we ran a story on Merlin.net, St. Jude’s remote monitoring system for patients with implanted cardiac devices.

One limitation of this system, as well as others in a similar class like Medtronic’s CareLink, is that they require the patient be in range of a stand-alone home monitoring device. While this system still has numerous applications and benefits, the obvious deficiency is that if a patient has some serious event (AICD firing, lead failure, etc), the alert via these remote monitoring systems would not occur until the patient got home.

We contacted St. Jude’s to inquire about whether they are or would consider integration of their remote monitoring systems with smartphones.

As we pointed out in the article, Merlin.net (just like Medtronic’s CareLink and other similar remote monitoring systems) require patients to be within range of a home monitoring device for data transmission – it only seems like a natural leap that this function could be assigned to an always-connected, always-near smartphone.

Kristi Warner of St. Jude’s kindly responded:

“We expect the trend toward mobile devices to continue in cardiac device monitoring as the standards and regulatory approvals for these kinds of mobile solutions progress…As for your question on utilizing mobile devices, we can say that mobility is certainly a key design parameter of all our solutions today and into the future.”

While certainly holding their cards close, it does seem to suggest that St. Jude’s is actively exploring integrating smartphones into their remote monitoring system. It’s certainly something we will keep close tabs on. We will keep you posted on further developments.