Easy and Comfortable Long-term ECG from Your Nearest Pharmacy

Easy and Comfortable Long-term ECG from Your Nearest Pharmacy


11.2.2021 | Author: Eero Salminen, Sales Manager, Bittium

At Bittium, we firmly believe that intelligent medical technology is the key to making healthcare services more efficient and reliable and supporting both patients and medical personnel. However, to perform to their full potential, modern healthcare solutions also need smart service models. A brilliant example of our Bittium Faros™ ECG monitoring solution's innovative use is the service model of Italian healthcare service specialist ActiveAction. They identified pharmacies as ideal partners to provide patients with personal support via their trusted medical go-to contact while avoiding clinic visits with long waiting times.

The Challenge

The healthcare experts of ActiveAction, led by medical device R&D expert Emilio Attolini and cardiologist Dr. Massimo Gualerzi, observed that while the medical devices were becoming smarter and more efficient, the healthcare system was too congested to make use of them. Many Italians have long-since turned to their neighborhood pharmacies as the first point of contact for any non-emergency medical demand. Since 2015, the Italian government has subsidized pharmacies that help alleviate the mounting pressure on healthcare. An early and very successful remote service provided through pharmacies was blood pressure monitoring. ActiveAction decided to expand the examination range offered via pharmacies for intensely sought-after diagnostic services such as long-term ECGs to detect heart arrhythmias.  

The Perfect Fit for Remote Services

An essential factor in enabling a remote service for ECG monitoring is a smart medical device that delivers diagnostic accuracy but is also easy to handle – in this case for the pharmacists – and comfortable to wear for the end customers, without being too visible or hindering them in their everyday life.

"The traditional ECG Holters as we know them are quite bulky and come with several electrodes and cables. They are not only more complicated to apply, but also uncomfortable to wear", explains Emilio Attolini. "From end-user feedback, we learned that patients do not like for their employers, colleagues, or friends to see that they are wearing a long-term ECG device. It might imply that they are seriously ill while they only want to have a health-check based on earlier heart arrhythmia."

Bittium Faros™ ECG sensor measures ECG without the need for ECG cables. The FastFix patch electrode is easy to apply and, when necessary, quick to replace on the chest. One patch can be used for 3 to 7 days.

Bittium Faros™ ECG sensor has quickly become one of ActiveAction's most successful and most requested devices.

“We researched and found Bittium Faros™ ECG sensor, which fits our customers’ needs perfectly. It is small, lightweight, but most of all, very easy to install and use. It was a real game-changer for our service,” declares Attolini and continues, “Once the pharmacy helps it on, you can forget about it and wear it for up to seven days without changing the electrode patch. Having a shower or doing sport is no problem because it’s waterproof.”

Behind the Scenes: Smart Technology and Medical Experts

 Medical devices, software, and data handling are strictly regulated. They need to meet stringent compliance demands. Bittium Faros™ ECG sensor fulfills all the required medical certifications, e.g., CE class IIa and FDA 510(k). Once data is recorded, ActiveAction's software processes and transfers the data from the pharmacies to the healthcare service provider's medical centers via a regulated, secure, encrypted connection.

Remote analysis, diagnoses, and medical reports can only be given by qualified physicians or cardiologists. ActiveAction employs seven cardiologists and has additional cardiologists on call for peak times. Bittium Cardiac Navigator™ provides a software platform to help streamline reporting. The intuitive analysis tools and informative data presentation make the software efficient and easy to use when analyzing multiple days of ECG recordings. "Our cardiologists really appreciated the Bittium Cardiac Navigator™ for its accuracy," Attolini praises.

Service Model Expansion for New Target Groups

Today there are ActiveAction services in over 2,000 pharmacies throughout Italy. This B2B2C business model has been very successful. Especially older patients appreciate having pharmacists' help to fit the ECG sensor.

Because of younger, tech-savvy target groups and the device's easy use, ActiveAction is expanding its business model to eCommerce with an additional B2C model. Soon, users can order the ECG device and electrode patch directly to their homes. With the help of an instruction video and documentation, they can easily fit the device themselves and start the recording. "Pharmacies will continue to play an important role," says Attolini. "With the growing interest, and especially with having to observe social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide an alternative route to long-term remote ECG monitoring. We are excited to launch this offer in 2021."

At Bittium we are delighted to see how our solutions, such as the Bittium Faros, can be an integral part of innovative healthcare services, that support the healthcare system and make examinations easier for the patients. ActiveAction has found a fantastic way to utilize the benefits of smart medtec devices and to bring them to the end users in a way that suits their needs.

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Read the whole customer case story: Bittium Faros™ Success Story - Easy and Comfortable Long-term ECG from Your Nearest Pharmacy


Eero Salminen, Sales Manager, Medical Technologies, Bittium

Eero has more than 5 years of experience from global sales of cardiology products. He joined Bittium in 2016 through the acquisition of medical device manufacturing company; Mega Electronics Ltd. Mr. Salminen is currently taking care of and expanding the distributor network of Bittium’s medical technologies product portfolio with the main focus in the European market.