Qardio announced this week plans to launch QardioCore, a wearable “medical grade” ECG chest strap that, among other things, is comfortable & water resistant.

Two years ago, we reviewed another one of Qardio’s digital health products – QardioArm, a smartphone-connected blood pressure monitor. And if there’s one thing that Qardio seems to do well, it’s design a slick health device. QardioCore is billed as a “medical grade” ECG chest strap that will hit the market in the US after it gets FDA clearance.

It’s described as targeting athletes initially, with hints though that they intend to expand out for broader healthcare use:

QardioCore is worn as a chest strap and seamlessly records continuous ECG, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, temperature and activity data. The data can then be easily and automatically shared, for example, with medical professionals. Athletes can also take advantage of QardioCore to help them achieve peak performance and optimize their training.

In recent years, a number of new digital health devices for cardiac monitoring have hit the market such as AliveCor’s Kardia ECG monitor for smartphones and smartwatches and single lead ECG patches like iRhythm’s Zio patch or Medtronic’s SEEQ patch.

QardioCore is more like the latter in that it captures continuous ECG data. It could have some advantages over the Zio patch in comfort and durability (patches have a tendency to fall off). On the other hand, I don’t see anything to suggest that Qardio has built anything comparable to the back-end analytics and reporting that iRhythm and Medtronic have in place.

QardioCore certainly looks a lot better than the traditional Holter or event monitor and may offer an alternative when you’d be prescribing one of those devices. It would be nice, for example, for patients not have to take it on and off for showers. However, we’ll have to wait and see the indications for which it actually gets FDA clearance.

Hopefully, we’ll also see Qardio follow the lead of others in this space like AliveCor and iRhythm by building an evidence base to guide clinicians and patients on how it can be used to actually improve care & outcomes.