By Jeddore John
Wanna know what bugs me this month?….KardiaMobile. If you watch TV, you have probably seen ads for this little device that will show you your heartbeat on your cell phone.
While I applaud the designer of this product for trying to bring medical information devices to people at reasonable prices, it still bugs me. Why does this thing bug me? I have several reasons:
They want you to give them $99 plus HST for something you can do with your thumb. Checking your heartbeat and detecting atrial fibrillation are two of the many things your thumbs are capable of. And your thumbs will gladly do it for you for free, because after all, they feel sort of attached to you.
In their ad they engage in what marketing folks call FUD—Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. For instance, they mention that the risk of a stroke is higher in people over 60. What they don't mention is that their device on its own will do very little to prevent you from having a stroke, no matter how often you put your fingertips on it. In their TV ads, their spokesman asks people how their heart is. When they respond that their heart is good the spokesman questions “Are you sure?” and kindly points out that the person doesn't have a Check Heart light. Major League marketing FUD.
They claim their device will give you a “medical grade” EKG. When I go to see my cardiologist. I get an EKG immediately before my appointment. A nice lady at Dartmouth General sticks somewhere between five and eight electrode pads on my chest arms and legs, then hooks up wires to those pads. This gives the doctor far more info than can be extracted from my fingertips. Using the phrase “medical grade” to polish up your impression of their device is misleading. Besides, if my cardiologist used a little two fingerpad device to check my heart, I would be looking for a new cardiologist.
If anyone living between Forest Hills Parkway and Sheet Harbor still has the urge to spend money to check their heart rate despite the rantings of this cranky old fart, contact me at this publication and I will come and show you how to do it yourself for a mere $40. Satisfaction Guaranteed! Tax included! Money back guarantee! Hurry up and do it before you kill over!
Up next on Wanna Know What Bugs Me This Month? —People in TV ads who drive jeeps at high speed through pristine mountain trout streams. Bet you just can't wait for that one, eh?