Mayo Clinic, STMicroelectronics to develop heart-monitoring platform

By Bernie Monegain
10:14 AM

The Mayo Clinic and STMicroelectronics, a Swiss-based semiconductor company, are collaborating on a platform for remotely monitoring patients with chronic cardiovascular disease.

As planned, a patient would wear a small device that continually monitors a number of relevant physiological parameters. This approach has many potential benefits, including maintaining wellness, earlier detection of developing health conditions, improving lifestyle and lowering healthcare costs.

"Mayo Clinic has always committed the best available resources to caring for patients with cardiovascular disease. This collaboration, by enhancing our ability to record important physiologic information while patients are outside the medical environment and active in their daily lives, will extend our ability to prevent and treat illness," said Paul Friedman, MD, a cardiology consultant and specialist in cardiovascular electrophysiology at the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

An initial program of patient trials is under way, Friedman said.

The platform is a collaboration of ST's sensor, microprocessor and communication products and the Mayo Clinic's medical expertise, Friedman said. It uses a combination of sensors, ultra-low-power microcontroller and wireless modules and interfaces to provide information about a patient's heart rate, breathing rate, physical activity and other measurements.

"Combining the worldwide recognized clinical expertise of Mayo Clinic with our ability to provide highly integrated volume solutions at affordable costs, we are convinced we will open new frontiers to bring quality healthcare to everybody," said Alessandro Cremonesi, vice president of advanced system technology for Geneva-based ST, which has an American headquarters in Carrollton, Texas. "ST is utilizing its strong expertise to develop advanced technologies and products satisfying the requirements of telemedicine platforms. This will allow medical device manufacturers and healthcare providers to develop new products and services to enhance the quality of medical support for their customers and patients."

Telemedicine is expected to play a large role in helping solve the growing costs of healthcare monitoring and delivery, especially with an aging population.

The United States, which spent more than $2 trillion on healthcare in 2007 – nearly twice the average per-capita spending of other developed countries – could tie up to a quarter of its national economy in healthcare costs by 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office.