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The wild and wacky world of wearables (and other patient monitoring updates)


Check out a few of the latest tools designed to help you keep your finger on the pulse of patients' health.

BabelVet: One app/tracker/program to rule them all

We know Voyce was just silenced forever, maybe the first of many triers-and-diers in the wearable collar marketplace. But the team at BabelBark and BabelVet and BizBark thinks they've got a unique approach that will bring a wearable monitoring device into a true "ecosystem" of pet owner wants and needs. And they say they've already got the app out to 15,000 pet owners from pet retail establishments and a handful of veterinarians trying it out.

Here's how they say it works: A pet retailer or groomer or trainer wants an easy way to communicate with and connect to a pet-owning client. That's BizBark, which manages a little marketing and client tracking for pet retail and pet service businesses. That business sells a $29.95 BabelBark collar attachment (with a six-month battery replaceable at any drugstore) for the dog that tracks activity (running, walking, etc.) on a smartphone app. And what shows up on the app's dashboard? A link to veterinarians using BabelVet or button to request medical records from a veterinarian.

You want in? It's $99/month for a practice for BabelVet, no matter how many BabelBark-wearing dog owners you have, and you'll get activity data and information about what pet owners are doing at other pet service businesses when they're not in your exam room. You know, getting food, tracking medication reminders from you, sharing medical records to and from you and other doctors (not taking over your EMR, just sharing),

What's it all for? Long-time veterinary insider Kerri Marshall, DVM, MBA, says a pet superstore puts trainer, groomer, boarder and veterinarian all under one roof. Why shouldn't your veterinary practice get the same chance to do that virtually?

“We are collecting a tremendous amount of information on dogs every day. In addition to each dog's profile (breed, age, weight, medications, conditions, geo-location) we are collecting detailed activity data, dosage frequencies, weight changes, dietary information, purchasing behavior and pet parent demographics,” says Bill Rebozo, founder of BabelBark. “As this database builds we can use simple machine learning algorithms to predict potential complications that veterinarians might want to look into. For example, we might identify a dog that lives in an area with high instances of Lyme disease, that is behind on vaccinations, and whose activity levels have declined over a particular period of time. With Babelytics we can notify this dog's veterinarian and provide a simple link to their BabelVet profile to review the data and determine if any action is necessary ... effectively enabling them to maintain a connection with each patient between visits.”

We'll stop babbling about Babel now and just tell you the company is hungry for veterinary practice beta testers at babelbark.com ... .


Vetrax, SmartCare and Hill's Pet Nutrition: Wear to eat

If Fitbit and MyFitnessPal got married and adopted a puppy, it might look a little like this. AGL and Hill's Pet Nutrition have partnered to announce collaboration between Vetrax, a wearable pet monitoring device, and Hill's SmartCare program (more on this in a sec). The goal: Offer veterinarians objective, quantifiable data about pets' health.

The short version: A veterinary portal, the Vetrax sensor and an app walk into a bar, and … drumroll, please … team up to help veterinarians diagnose and treat underlying health conditions in pets, such as dermatologic issues, weight problems and mobility issues. The Vetrax device knows when a pet's been sleeping, it knows when it's awake. It knows if it's been shaking or scratching and it offers 24/7 continuous monitoring, for goodness' sake.

So what's a doc to do with all this data? That's where the SmartCare interface from Hill's comes in. For starters, you can recommend the appropriate therapeutic diet and pharmaceutical treatments and track their impact on the pet in real time. It also creates a trend line of the pet's behaviors, as it measures sleep quality, running, walking, head shaking and scratching. (It doesn't measure licking-yet. But it will show disturbances that indicate the pet is licking, such as the pet waking more frequently.)

The Vetrax device, sold exclusively through veterinarians, comes at a price point of $99.95. The monthly monitoring fee is $16.95, and this amount is refunded to pet parents who purchase the recommended Hill's prescription diet each month. The veterinarian selects the pet's plan-the dermatology plan, the weight plan or the mobility/arthritis plan-and sets targets for the pet. The product offers scores and movement over time.

More deets about the device:

• Up to 14-day battery life

• Uses USB connection to charge

• Holds between five and seven days of data

• Water-resistant

They've logged a mind-blowing 15,000 dog days of data so far.


Sentier Vetcorder Plus and Vetcorder Home: For the (medical) records

It's that hot new product from last year with a little something extra-the Vetcorder, a less-than-80-gram continuous SpO2 and ECG monitor with Bluetooth. ('Cause bluetooth makes everything cooler, amiright?) The extra part? A new partnership with Masimo to enhance this multiparameter remote patient monitor.

And here's the announcement that's causing the next stir: Sentier presents their concept for the Vetcorder Home monitor.

Sure, you're hearing a lot about wearable monitors these days (and quite honestly, just look at your wrist. We have a pretty good feeling you've tried a monitor yourself, or at least considered one). The hard part-differentiating between all these devices. It's one of those “so many options, what features do I care about?” questions. We can't answer that for you. But we can offer you the details to help provide a smidgen of clarity to make your decision.

So the Vetcorder Home concept appears a bit more robust than your common puppy pedometer. We say that because the company says their aim is to offer a clinic-quality biometric device for home use. This biometric data is transferred via Bluetooth to your tablet or mobile device. A harness keeps the device in place on the patient to track ECG, respiratory rate, heart rate, temperature, SpO2, systolic blood pressure and activity levels. So now you can send a pet home with the monitor device with the reassurance that if a measurement goes outside predefined limits, your clinic will be alerted immediately.


Not a wearable but still worth noting: Midmark Cardell Insight: Internal insights

Touch screen! (Yes, it works through your surgical gloves. It's a 7-inch LCD resistive touch screen. The anti-glare coating means you can still see it under those crazy bright glaring light scenarios.) USB downloads! (Cause, you know, you definitely want these images on your phone at your next cocktail party.) The Cardell Insight is Midmark's new blood pressure monitor. (That's systolic and diastolic blood pressure, yo.)

The lineup: the 8014 blood pressure model and the 8015 blood pressure and pulse oximetry. Think three animal specific alarm systems that offer speedy patient setup. It's for exam rooms, treatment, surgery and recovery. Then picture that touch screen again.


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