Interview: Dr. David Albert, AliveCor Founder and Chief Medical Officer

If I had to pick one word to describe Dr. David Albert, Founder and Chief Medical Officer at AliveCor, I would use passionate – passionate about improving the healthcare system and people’s lives. Having worked in the medical device industry for over 25 years and a serial entrepreneur, Dr. Albert has always been focused on improving the status quo, especially in medical technologies. As he recalls, “In 2008, I saw the smartphone as a major disruptive technology and immediately knew that it would soon become ubiquitous. Smartphones represented a platform where I could deliver affordable cardiac care.”

And so the AliveCor Heart Monitor, an iPhone case-like device was conceived. The company then executed so many clinical trials from top researchers and institutions to validate the device that it only took 75 days to get their 510(k) approval from the FDA – to put this in perspective, on average it usually takes almost twice as long for most devices to go from submission to clearance.

With 1,000 units already sold in the United States this month, AliveCor will soon start selling in Europe in the next 4-6 weeks. Doctors and patients can access the fully secure, HIPAA-compliant online web portal to view all ECG data. AliveCor is working on syncing this data to individual EMRs as well.

Dr. Albert views the device as an instant way for doctors to get status updates on heart health, emphasizing, “We’ve got to figure out how to do things less expensively but maintain if not improve the quality of care.” Just like using a stethoscope or looking into a patient’s mouth, doctors can use the Heart Monitor to do an instant health check and get reimbursed in the process. Doctors can also prescribe the Heart Monitor for their patients to purchase for home use and consistent long-term monitoring.

AliveCor also launched the Heart Monitor for veterinarians in August, and there are currently more than 2,000 units used by vets around the world, on any animal from domesticated pets to endangered species, to racetrack horses.

What can we look forward to in the future from AliveCor? The company is working on making the Heart Monitor available over-the-counter. After introducing the product in the EU, they look to approach more emerging markets. As Dr. Albert notes, “It is not clean water or electricity that is readily available throughout the world – it is cell phones,” and for doctors and clinics that can’t pay thousands for an EKG machine, the AliveCor Heart Monitor is a very good alternative. The company is also preparing to integrate the monitor in medical education and nursing education, to teach the next generation of health practitioners how to use the device.

Dr. Albert’s focus and AliveCor’s goal is to “deliver healthcare more efficiently, at a lower cost, yet still keeping people safe,” and they are off to a great start.

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