Diabetics have to look out for possible heart disease and when you add COVID-19 to the equation, the risks become even greater, according to the CDC. InfoBionic CEO Stuart Long explains how Remote Patient Monitoring is an alternative for physicians who want to keep a close watch on patients who don’t require immediate intervention.
COVID-19 is unpredictable in its propensity to induce dangerous inflammation in vital organs like the heart, lungs, and liver (1) but less visible conditions like diabetes can not only become aggravated by COVID but also complicate cardiac and blood pressure challenges. “Diabetes and heart disease kind of go hand in hand,” says Stuart Long, CEO of InfoBionic, a digital health company.
While all too common, diabetes can wreak havoc on the heart and other systems if left unchecked. Among other ailments, diabetes can lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrythmia, atrial fibrillation (AFIB) and serious complications for patients with comorbidities like cardiac fibrosis. In particular, severe coronavirus infection may cause injury to cardiac myocytes, or cardiac muscle cells, (2) and increase the risk for arrythmia.
“If we’re talking about diabetes, it makes perfect sense. With COVID, diabetes may get out of hand quickly, and remote monitoring can help alleviate that burden for doctors,” explains Long.
Regardless of any speculation by health officials whether we’re nearing the end of the pandemic or not, the nation’s health system has been pushed and stretched in ways it had not seen in more than a century. With vaccination and lessons learned, infection numbers have decreased(3), and some pressure has been taken off hospitals. Nevertheless, the need for monitoring patients is critical. Hospitals stays are not as dire as they were a year ago. The medical field is still working within the platform the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dubbed “Hospitals Without Walls,” designed to enable monitoring and treatment outside of those facilities. (4)
This is where Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)(5) becomes critical to balancing the need for immediate patient intervention and a more moderate approach to monitoring a patient’s health. The technology’s primary purpose is to transmit health data at a distance, wirelessly, with minimal inconvenience to the patient. RPM ensures that patients are only advised to seek in-person medical attention in the case of a true emergency.
InfoBionic’s MoMe® Kardia cardiac monitor offers a solution for doctor-patient contact in regard to heart rhythm issues. Patients with existing or potentially new arrythmias—especially those who have had COVID-19 or are experiencing significant after-effects—can be equipped with a small monitor connected via cellular linked directly to the cloud, resulting in reports or alerts to their cardiologist based on near real-time data that makes doctor or ER visits only necessary in the case of an emergency. Every single heartbeat is delivered to a patient’s cardiologist in near real-time. AFIB and other arrhythmias—whether they are a result of diabetes, COVID-19 or other reasons—need to be attended to immediately as they can lead to major complications, including heart attacks, strokes and death.(6)
Medical science demonstrates that diabetes damages the heart(7), whether it’s through high blood pressure that puts patients at risk for heart disease, a plethora of LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) that forms plaque on damaged artery walls, or the simple hardening of the arteries due to age, all of which have the potential—or the likelihood—to either aggravate COVID-19 symptoms or be worsened by the infection’s progress. Telehealth has been a major benefit to pandemic care, and solutions like InfoBionic’s remote monitoring technology provides a powerful tool not only to deliver accurate medical information, but also to help alleviate the burden on our healthcare systems.
“Every day, we have a better idea how conditions like diabetes affect not only the heart, but the progressions of COVID-19 in general,” says Long. “Remote patient monitoring is a current and viable response to helping monitor patient’s health without over-burdening health care professionals. Diabetic patients have enough to worry about—let’s give doctors and patients leading edge tools to resolve some of those concerns and improve health outcomes in the process.”
InfoBionic is a digital health company transforming the efficiency and economics of ambulatory remote patient monitoring processes by optimizing clinical and real-world utility for the users that need it most – physicians and their patients. The Massachusetts-based team of seasoned entrepreneurs have had successful careers in healthcare, IT, medical devices and mobile technology, and bring specific expertise in remote monitoring and cardiology. They have seen first-hand the complexities of traditional cardiac arrhythmia detection and monitoring processes and designed the transformative MoMe® Kardia platform to remove the roadblocks hindering faster, more effective diagnosis and decision-making. Frost & Sullivan bestowed the 2019 North American Remote Cardiac Monitoring Technology Leadership Award upon InfoBionic.
- Medical News Today. “COVID-19: Can We Tackle the Root Cause of Inflammation” medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-can-we-tackle-the-root-cause-of-inflammation Accessed May 2021
- Heart Rhythm Journal. “COVID-19 and cardiac arrhythmias” Clinical General| Volume 17, ISSUE 9, P1439-1444, September 01, 2020 heartrhythmjournal.com/article/S1547-5271(20)30594-4/fulltext Accessed May 2021
- COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 7 May 2021; cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html#:
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “CMS Announces Comprehensive Strategy to Enhance Hospital Capacity Amid COVID-19 Surge” cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-announces-comprehensive-strategy-enhance-hospital-capacity-amid-covid-19-surge Accessed May 2021
- Mayo Clinic. “Remote patient monitoring: Comprehensive care at home” mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/remote-patient-monitoring-comprehensive-care-at-home Accessed May 2021
- “Atrial Fibrillation and other Arrhythmias”; New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Columbia Heart Surgery; Accessed 12 May 2021; columbiasurgery.org/conditions-and-treatments/arrhythmiaatrial-fibrillation
“Diabetes Risk Factors”; American Heart Association; Accessed 12 May 2021; heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/understand-your-risk-for-diabetes