iRhythm raises $16M for wearable cardiac monitoring patch

A wearable patch that can monitor a patient’s heart activity for two weeks straight has won a $16 million investment. iRhythm, a startup spun out of Stanford’s biodesign program, plans to announce on Wednesday that it has raised a Series D round that brings its total amount raised to $68 million. The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), with participation from existing funders New Leaf Ventures, Synergy Life Science Partners and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.

“What the company has done is do a good job integrating consumer electronics and ergonomics,” said Casper de Clercq, a partner at NVP and a new member of iRhythm’s board. He said the company was attractive because it’s addressing an unmet need with innovative technology and its Zio device (not to be confused with the now-defunct sleep monitor Zeo) is already reimbursed by health plans as a diagnostic test.

If a doctor suspects that a patient has cardiac arrhythmia, she can affix the Zio patch to a patient’s chest and simply instruct him to leave it on for 14 days. At the end of the two weeks, the patient removes the device and mails it back to the company. At that point, it’s analyzed by iRhythm’s cardiac technicians using its proprietary algorithms.

Unlike other monitoring devices that collect and wirelessly transmit information, the Zio only collects the data. While it may sound old-school to rely on snail mail to deliver the information back to the company, it makes for a cheaper product, no batteries to charge and a wireless, waterproof product patients don’t have to worry about taking on and off.

By providing a way to more quickly and easily assess whether symptomatic patients actually have heart arrhythmia, the company said it can help doctors determine the best treatment option and reduce the overall cost of care. So far, it’s tracked about 140,000 patients and has amassed 20 million hours of patient cardiac activity.

Kevin King, the company’s CEO and president, said the new funding would go towards marketing, technology expansion, distribution and investing in new uses for the product.