AliveCor developed the first smartphone-connected electrocardiogram, or EKG, called Kardia, which detects abnormal heart rhythms on a phone in much the same way that an EKG in a hospital records the electrical activity of the heart. This means that patients can check their heart health regularly and find out within 30 seconds whether their results are normal or they should seek medical attention. That’s particularly important for millions of Americans at risk for arrhythmias, which may be symptomless and can result in potentially fatal outcomes like heart failure and stroke. By the end of 2017, AliveCor had helped customers record more than 20 million EKGs. Now it’s focused on rolling out further heart-monitoring technologies.
“At core,” says CEO Vic Gundotra, “we are an AI company disguised as a medical device company.” AliveCor’s new KardiaBand EKG reader is the first FDA-approved medical-grade accessory for the Apple Watch, and the company also recently released machine-learning software called SmartRhythm, which continuously analyzes data from the watch’s built-in heart-rate sensor and accelerometer to spot unexpected patterns. In addition, AliveCor has partnered with Columbia and other top medical schools on clinical trials to see if its devices can identify even more lifesaving signals in the EKG, including early warning signs of long QT syndrome, a leading cause of sudden death in younger people.