Key recent AI trends in Diagnostic Cardiology ECG

Publication Date: 16/10/2023

As summer turns to Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, healthcare practitioners, policymakers, and technology vendors have returned in large numbers to a slew of industry conferences to keep abreast of the continual developments taking place in healthcare.

In the cardiology space, the Heart Rhythm Society’s HRX Conference was held in Seattle, USA, closely followed by the UK Arrythmia Alliance’s annual shindig (‘HRC 2023’), in the city of Birmingham. Many of the macro-themes around healthcare (shrinking budgets and resources, shifts towards ambulatory care, sustainability, and artificial intelligence (AI)) were at the forefront of discussions at both events.

Steady rather than spectacular progress

At HRC, a session titled ‘Digital Tools to help level up arrhythmia care’ covered a range of topics include Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Virtual Wards, Digital Twins and Clinical Decision Making, the potential for AI to improve outcomes for AF ablation, and the role that ChatGPT could potentially play in enhancing arrhythmia patient care.

Understandably, the session stimulated a healthy mixture of scepticism and excitement amongst the healthcare practitioners in the audience. Proceed with caution but proceed, nonetheless. In the case of the presentation on AF Virtual Wards, questions focused primarily on issues around clinical workflows, staffing resources, and medication adherence, rather than the efficacy of the technologies being utilised.

Indeed, general conversations with cardiologists at HRC shared this degree of tempered optimism for the technology. In the case of vendors offering AI solutions for ECG analysis, budgets and bureaucracy, rather than technological scepticism, came across as the main hurdles to greater adoption within the NHS.

Persistence and partnerships will be key in driving increased adoption of new technologies, such as AI in cardiology. AliveCor offers a good example of what is possible when pursuing both; it has established itself as a major new player in the ambulatory diagnostic cardiology market through a combination of proprietary technology (including AI) and strategic partnerships.

This was on full show at HRC, where AliveCor and GE HealthCare had a joint stand to demonstrate, among other things, the integration of AliveCor’s integration with GE HealthCare’s MUSE Cardiac Management System, first announced in March 2022. AliveCor’s presence at HRC also closely followed the conditional recommendation by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the use of its KardiaMobile device in Psychiatric Services in England and Wales.

Signify Research will be following how other vendors, established and emerging, plot their own routes to market, as budgetary constraints, continuing technological advancements, and shifting cardiac patient pathways all coalesce.

Leading the way

At HRX in Seattle, home to some of the world’s most innovative companies, AI, remote monitoring and consumer wearables, and the role of regulation in a rapidly evolving environment, were some of the key topics being keenly discussed.

Numerous vendors utilising AI to improve EGC analysis were in attendance and a number of product and regulatory announcements were made before, during, and after the conference had finished.

One such vendor, Vektor Medical, announced more breakthroughs in CT Scar Imaging and Wall Thickness Analysis based on its vMap AI-based solution for mapping arrhythmias utilising a 12-lead ECG. In October, former HRX Pitch Competition participant Anumana announced FDA 510(k) Clearance for its ECG-AI algorithm to Detect Low Ejection Fraction, developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic.

Also in September, Swiss-based SmartCardia announced FDA approval, to complement its existing CE-marking, for its SmartCardia 7L Patch. Not to be left out, iRhythm also launched the latest iteration of its Zio wearable diagnostic ECG device, incorporating its AI-enabled algorithm to capture and analyse patient cardiac ECG information.

Finally, within the last week, Polish-based AI ECG Vendor Cardiomatics announced that it had obtained the world’s first EU MDR Certification for its AI-based ECG Interpretation platform. The company also announced the addition of Atrioventricular block detection of 2nd and 3rd degrees to its platform.

Reading between the lines

The above developments highlight some of the deeper strategic questions vendors developing AI solutions for Diagnostic Cardiology are facing. For example:

  • Whether to focus purely on algorithm development or combine this with the complexities of industrial and electronical design and manufacturing produce diagnostic-quality devices’.
  • If focusing purely on software, how to analyse and manage data received from multiple devices, and whether to include non-diagnostic consumer wearables in this?
  • To focus purely on interpreting ‚Äòthe gold standard’ 12-lead ECGs? Or to interpret signals from a wider range of devices, such as less-than-perfect, though continuously improving and ever-more ubiquitous single-lead patches and other wearable devices?
  • What are the trade-offs between markets with more infrastructure, reimbursement, and competition, to those that are less crowded, but at earlier stages of development?

These are some of the questions that Signify Research will be seeking to answer in its upcoming report into the use of AI in Diagnostic Cardiology ECG.

Related Research

Signify Research’s Diagnostic Cardiology market coverage includes its upcoming “AI in Diagnostic Cardiology ECG – World – 2023” topical report, “Diagnostic Cardiology – World -Interim Report – 2023”, and “Ambulatory Diagnostic Cardiology – World – 2022”. Both reports provide a data-centric and global outlook of the market. The reports blend primary data collected from in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and technology vendors to provide a balanced and objective view of the market.

About Gareth Jones

Gareth joined Signify Research in 2021 as Senior Market Analyst in the Digital Health team, where he covered emerging markets including Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) and Ambulatory Diagnostic Cardiology. In 2023, Gareth joined Signify’s Clinical Care team where, his coverage areas will include Diagnostic Cardiology and Patient Monitors. Prior to Signify Research, Gareth gained 13 years of research experience in South Africa.

About the Clinical Care Team

The clinical care team provides market intelligence and detailed insights on the clinical care equipment and IT markets. Our areas of coverage include patient monitoring, diagnostic cardiology, infusion pumps, ventilators, anaesthesia and high-acuity IT. Our reports provide a data-centric and global outlook of each market with granular country-level insights. Our research process blends primary data collected from in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and technology vendors, to provide a balanced and objective view of the market.

About Signify Research

Signify Research provides healthtech market intelligence powered by data that you can trust. We blend insights collected from in-depth interviews with technology vendors and healthcare professionals with sales data reported to us by leading vendors to provide a complete and balanced view of the market trends. Our coverage areas are Medical Imaging, Clinical Care, Digital Health, Diagnostic and Lifesciences and Healthcare IT.

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