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IronRod Health Newsletter – April 2020

Now More Than Ever Before

At IronRod Health, we’re driven by a mission of providing high-quality healthcare and impeccable customer service at an affordable cost. Our purpose to protect the most vulnerable cardiac patients, reassuring their families and physicians, takes on a special meaning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know COVID-19 is an uncertain and constantly evolving situation, which is stressful. Fortunately, you can always count on our ability to provide reliable remote monitoring and management services. To ensure this high standard of service continues uninterrupted, we are closely watching and constantly evaluating the most current state of affairs.

Cardiac Monitoring Entirely Home-Based

Iron Rod Health offers real-time remote monitoring for cardiovascular patients (who may be among the hardest hit by COVID-19) in the comfort of their own homes. Our services can be ordered remotely by healthcare providers and enabled remotely by one of our patient support representatives. This allows both patients and healthcare practitioners to avoid face-to-face meetings that could spread the virus.

Dedication, the IronRod Health Way: During the COVID-19 pandemic, our dedication to providing our patients, and their families and physicians, the level of service they have come to expect from us will remain paramount. We extend the utmost respect, appreciation, and thanks to our nation’s healthcare workers. They are on the front lines of this constantly changing situation, providing the best medical care in the world. We owe it to them to provide the best logistics and operations support, and we will continue to do so.

Artificial Intelligence: A Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Cardiovascular Disease

It’s safe to say that at this very second, many readers of this article have smartwatches and fitness trackers on their wrists. These popular wearable devices put data in the hands of consumers to empower them to play a more active role in managing their health. Welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a technology that can help reduce human error, create more precise analytics, and turn data collecting devices into powerful diagnostic tools.

More specifically, AI describes a machine’s ability to simulate human intelligence. Actions like learning, logic, reasoning, perception, and creativity that were once considered unique to humans, is now being replicated by technology and used in every industry, including the medical field.

“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We’re nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.” – Larry Page – American Computer Scientist and Internet Entrepreneur

As the leading cause of death in the United States, the plight to combat cardiovascular disease (CVD) has understandably been at the forefront of medical research. Like Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s common knowledge – By identifying people at high risk of heart attack, stroke, and related conditions early on, medications, and lifestyle changes could help reduce their risk of disease and death.

It’s no surprise that AI technology has opened up promising opportunities in the area of combating CVD by integrating AI to analyze imaging data. It allows early recognition of heart disease, saving patients’ time, money, and, most importantly, lives.

Traditionally, CVD risk has been determined using clinical measurements. These include body mass index (BMI)—a ratio of weight to height and the Framingham risk score (FRS), incorporating age, sex, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and related information. However, these tools, while extremely useful, are not precise. They can miss people at high risk and misidentify others who are not.

There’s a new kid in town when it comes to CVD prevention. It’s safe to say AI technology has become a game-changing factor that will affect the development of the medical industry and is guaranteed to elevate the level of medical services we can provide.

One of the most popular technologies of AI is machine learning, which enables algorithms to understand and learn data. Machine learning is usually synonymous with AI. The key to machine learning is to find the regular pattern behind observed data and build a model based on that data. Therefore, the machine can use this model to predict and determine future data.

There are many exciting studies using AI as a powerful weapon in the fight against CVD. One such study is very promising! A research team led by Drs. Perry J. Pickhardt of the University of Wisconsin and Ronald Summers from the NIH Clinical Center has applied machine learning to CT scans that were taken for various purposes to develop computer programs to estimate disease risk. CT scans are common practice, and millions undergo such scans every year for reasons ranging from accidents to surgical planning.

With machine learning, they tested whether algorithms they’d developed to re-analyze CT scans could predict the risk of heart disease more accurately than BMI or the FRS.

The team focused on more than 9,200 men and women (average age of 57) without symptomatic heart disease of the abdomen who had CT scans previously taken for colorectal cancer screening. The AI programs measured calcification in the aortic artery, muscle density, the ratio of fat deep in the body to that under the skin, liver fat, and bone mineral density, as seen on the scans.

The researchers collected follow-up information for all participants for an average of almost nine years. They then assessed whether their AI measures correlated with later development of heart disease or death.

Over the follow-up period, 20% of study participants experienced a heart attack or stroke, developed heart failure, or died. All five body-composition measures assessed by AI differed substantially between people who had and had not developed heart disease.

Summers determined that the CT biomarkers could more accurately predict downstream heart attack, cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure, or death, compared to the Framingham score and BMI. Additionally, the AI-based aortic calcification measurements—calcium deposits in the aortic valve—were far more accurate at assessing major heart events and overall survival.


What Is Remote Physiologic Monitoring?

Remote Physiologic Monitoring (sometimes called telemonitoring) is the collection of health data by a patient, often from outside conventional care settings, which is then electronically and securely transmitted to a provider for use in care and related support.

What Can Remote Physiologic Monitoring Do?

  • Empower patients to better manage their health and participate in their healthcare

  • Increase visibility into a patient’s adherence to treatment and enables timely intervention

  • Strengthen relationships between clinicians and patients.

  • Potentially reduce healthcare costs by avoiding unnecessary office, urgent care, and hospital ER visits.


Dr. Wilson Greatbach, the Tinkerer that Saved Millions of Lives

Thank goodness for the tinkerers, those curious inventors that take things apart, put them back together again (usually a little differently), and continuously think – “there’s got to be a better way!” One such tinkerer, Dr. Wilson Greatbach, can be credited with patenting over 300 inventions during his lifetime. In 1956, while tinkering in the barn behind his home, he accidentally devised what is considered one of medicine’s most significant achievements, the implantable pacemaker.

Greatbatch’s original attempt was to create a heart rhythm recorder. However, after adding an incorrect electronic component (as tinkerers often do), the device produced electronic pulses instead of merely recording the sound of the heartbeat as he had intended. Listening to the pulse of the device, a sound similar to that made by a healthy heart, Greatbatch had a life-changing “aha” moment. He realized that this device could help a weak heart stay in rhythm by delivering shocks to help the heart muscles to pump and contract blood.

In his backyard barn, the electrical engineering professor worked relentlessly to use his “accidental” discovery to create the world’s first implantable pacemaker. The first Greatbatch pacemaker was implanted in a human patient in 1960, and Greatbatch was awarded a patent for the device two years later.

Ultimately, Greatbatch’s invention of the implantable pacemaker has extended and saved millions of lives. “I seriously doubt if anything I ever do will ever give me the elation I felt that day when my own two-cubic-inch piece of electronic design controlled a living heart,” remarked Greatbatch.


We Value What You Do!

If you’re a top-notch Device Specialist or looking to become one, we’re your biggest fan.

Every day, incredible things are happening in the field of cardiac care, and you’re to thank! As a Cardiac Device Specialist, you’re an essential contributor to the industry’s success. You help providers deliver better care while also improving the patients’ experience in many ways. We think that’s something worth celebrating!

If you’re interested in joining our team, we can make it happen. We provide expert training for all types of cardiac devices and our placement program can help you find just the right opportunity. Use the button below to learn more. Learn more

IronRod Health has been a trusted partner to many physicians, providing monitoring and reassurance to thousands of patients. Our team stands ready to add patients to our remote monitoring program.

To learn more, call us at 888-743-3866 or email at


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