NY cardiologists target population health by merging tech, traditional approaches

A group of young cardiologists in New York City is opening hybrid health clinics, which combine the in-person guidance of physicians with the latest in digital health technology and screening tools.

The goal, according to a CNBC report, is to treat at-risk patients before they develop chronic conditions or need urgent interventions for serious health issues.

"I wanted to figure out whether we could go from a reactive to proactive state," Jeffrey Wessler, MD, a cardiology fellow at Columbia University Medical Center and founder of the digital health company called Heartbeat. "To me, that's really the next wave of where healthcare is going."

The company, which has raised $2.5 million in venture funding, has two clinics in New York so far with two more expected to be open within a few months. At those locations, patients can get the usual tests for blood pressure, heart rate, EKG and cardiac ultrasound. But Heartbeat also offers specialists who provide sustainable nutrition and exercise plans, which customers can review online at any point, as well as physicians to sift through patients’ Fitbit or Apple Watch heart rate data.

Patients can also schedule runs through Central Park with cardiologists, according to CNBC.

Heartbeat hopes it can prove in the next five to 10 years that patients it is treating have achieved meaningful reductions in heart attack and stroke rates, which would be a victory for this population health approach. Such a result could serve as a model for other health systems that are looking to move away from fee-for-service care to value-based arrangements.

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