The next major breakthrough in cardiac monitoring is practically a heartbeat away.
But instead of coming from a major health care system or mammoth medical device company, this innovation is being developed by a tiny South Jersey business with a payroll of six.
Founded by Joe DeAngelo and Brian Pike in October 2013, Rhythmedix doesn’t have a fully functioning website. But the Mount Laurel-based company does have a new system using wireless technology that’s expected to revolutionize heart monitoring for arrhythmia patients.
“Were it not for companies like us, patients would be in hospital telemetry beds being monitored,” said DeAngelo, who anticipates Rhythmedix will receive FDA approval this summer. “Because of our technology, we will extend the continuation of care beyond the hospital walls and the doctor’s offices and move it to the home environment.”
There are 10 million Americans suffering from arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats; Pike said the severity and treatment of which vary greatly. Of that number, he said 4 million are under medical supervision.
To pinpoint a patient’s type of arrhythmia and determine the most appropriate course of medical action — including exercise, drugs, a pacemaker or heart surgery — their heart rate is monitored for several days or several weeks.
Monitoring can be performed in doctor’s offices and hospitals, but usually patients are outfitted with two devices — one monitors the heart and the other records that data. Once a patient completes their monitoring period, they return to their physician, who downloads the data, processes it and recommends treatment.
Rhythmedix proposes simplifying that process by adding cellular technology to heart monitors so they can track and transfer patient information wirelessly and in real time to a central monitoring station. The device would be the size of a smartphone, could be clipped to a patient’s belt and mailed back to their physician after the monitoring period.
While eliminating a doctor visit and one device are perks of this new technology, its founders say, the core of Rhythmedix’s innovation would be its central monitoring centers.
“We want to leverage the technology to connect patients through monitors to care providers,” DeAngelo said, “but the middle piece is that human element — that’s really the cornerstone of our business.”
Staffed with certified cardiac technicians, these employees would track and process patient reports for physicians, alerting them when there are red flags instead of burdening them with superfluous information.
“All these devices gather a lot of valuable information, but the physicians really need help to streamline that reporting,” Pike said. “They are seeing more patients now than they’ve ever seen before, and they have a lot of technology being thrown at them.”
As managing partners, Pike and DeAngelo bring varied business and sales experience to the budding company.
Pike’s resume includes various sales positions with medical device companies, including a competitor in the heart monitor market. DeAngelo, a lifelong entrepreneur, is handling Rhythmedix’s financials and fostering business connections.
Right now, Pike, DeAngelo and their technical team of four are sitting tight, unable to market their product or build a prototype until gaining FDA approval. When that day arrives, DeAngelo estimates Rhythmedix’s staff quickly will jump to 45.
The company hopes to contribute to South Jersey’s economy by employing local manufacturers to process their heart-monitoring device and local residents to sell it and staff the monitoring centers.
“South Jersey is becoming the next hub of medical activity,” DeAngelo said. “We’d like to become a part of that.”
BIZ IN BRIEF
LOCATION: Mount Laurel
LEADERS: Brian Pike (managing partner), Joseph DeAngelo Jr. (managing partner), and Edward Niewiadomski (chief medical officer)
REVENUE: None so far