QRS Diagnostics Offers Computer Cards to Monitor Vital Signs
QRS Diagnostic, a Plymouth, Minn.-based technology company, is targeting health care providers and patients with a line of sensors and computer cards designed to enable personal computers, and eventually even personal digital assistants, to monitor vital signs, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Because computers equipped with the cards are portable and can easily analyze, format and transmit the data they collect, the QRS products are particularly well suited for disease management applications such as remote medical monitoring and home health visits by nurses, according to QRS executives. The cards allow computers to monitor lung capacity; heart signals normally recorded by an EKG; blood oxygen levels; and other vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate. The University of Minnesota is currently using the PC cards with laptop computers to remotely monitor the vital signs and lung capacity of participants in two lung disease trials. The data is recorded in patients' homes and transmitted via telephone lines to study physicians. The QRS products also may be less expensive than the medical monitoring devices they are intended to replace. One physician using the PC cards said an EKG and breath meter would have cost him $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, while the corresponding QRS cards cost about $2,000 and $1,000. QRS executives hope to offer consumer versions of the cards for even less, tapping into the market of the "worried well" -- consumers who are healthy but who monitor their health closely. Consumer devices could be available as early as next year, pending FDA approval, and would probably sell for $200 to $600, QRS executives said (Fiedler, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.