AI and health analytics firms collaborate to develop AF screening

iRhythm Technologies will collaborate with Verily to focus on the development of solutions aimed at improving the screening, diagnosis and management of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). This collaboration brings together iRhythm’s expertise in AI based arrhythmia diagnosis and Verily’s health data analytics technologies to address the millions of patients living with undiagnosed AF.

AF is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke, as compared to those without AF, with these strokes tending to be more severe and associated with higher mortality rates. For approximately 20% of individuals who experience a stroke due to AF, the occurrence of AF was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. Further, an estimated one-third of those who have AF are not aware they have it. Asymptomatic or “silent” AF is associated with certain risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea – which increase an individual’s likelihood for developing the disorder.

Dr Jessica Mega, chief medical and scientific officer of Verily, said: “We are excited to partner with iRhythm, a pioneer in ambulatory cardiac monitoring, to find innovative ways to deliver more efficient care to patients with atrial fibrillation. With the high prevalence of cardiovascular-related health issues, we have an opportunity to not only improve how we diagnose, manage and monitor conditions like atrial fibrillation, but also develop patient-centric solutions that could ultimately prevent serious cardiac events.”

The iRhythm and Verily collaboration aims to address this significant, underserved population at risk for asymptomatic or silent AF. Under the terms of the agreement, iRhythm and Verily plan to collaborate on solutions capable of providing earlier warnings, enabling the identification and management of patients that could otherwise go undiagnosed until they have a cardiac event, such as a stroke.

Clinical research is demonstrating a major unmet need in the market for this early warning approach. At the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in May, the first phase of the mSToPS study, published in JAMA, showed that patients who were diagnosed with AF in iRhythm’s Zio service-monitored group had a significantly lower rate of hospitalisations and emergency room visits than the non-monitored control group.

Kevin King, president and CEO of iRhythm, said: “iRhythm and Verily have a shared mission to create a better standard of care for cardiac patients – making heart health data more actionable so patients can live longer, healthier lives. We are pleased to partner with one of the world’s most reputable healthcare technology companies to better serve the millions of people living with AF today. Verily’s patient-centric approach to disease management and advanced hardware capabilities will prove critical in providing patients and providers with the tools needed to increase the efficiency of heart healthcare.”


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