ST. CLOUD -- A new remote monitoring system is giving patients with pacemakers more freedoms.

The MyCareLink Smart Monitor is the world's first app-based remote monitoring system, which allows patients to interact with their doctors with their smartphone.

Arrhythmia Specialist Laura Van Heel says the monitoring system is a pilot program that only seven hospitals are using.

"We started back in March, and there was seven places in the United States allowed to try this technology as something that may work for people," says Van Heel.

The new remote monitoring system reduces in-offices visits and the need to connect to a land-line.

"Your cell phone allows you to dial in without the use of a land-line and then they do the monitoring at the hospital," says MyCareLink Smart user Glenn Milligan.

The remote monitor uses blue tooth technology to scan your pacemaker, then securely transmit data, via Wi-Fi, to the hospital, where the doctor can interpret the data and make important treatment decisions.

"We get all of this information from the app just like we would get from other types of devices, so on our end it's the same," says Van Heel.

Milligan says the device provides more freedom in his day and is happy he decided to give it a try.

"I can be here at home, I can be on vacation in any part of the country because the cell phone is dialing up the connection," says Milligan.

Van Heel says this is only the beginning. They hope to soon be able to interact with their patients via the app, opposed to having to make a phone call with their findings.

"We're hoping through smart technology we'll be able to interact more with the patient through text messages or email, but that's a year or two down the road," says Van Heel.

Van Heel says the MyCareLink Smart system is available to anyone with a pacemaker.


(Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)