HEALTH

SpermCheck expands retail distribution

BY Michael Johnsen

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — SpermCheck in August gained additional retail distribution for its SpermCheck Fertility, an FDA-approved at-home screening test that determines with 98% accuracy whether a man has a normal or low sperm count. Infertility affects nearly 7 million U.S. couples every year. Up to 50% of conception issues are directly related to men, and most of those issues are due to low sperm count.

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HEALTH

Omron unveils new line of monitors

BY Michael Johnsen

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Omron Healthcare in October launched its most accurate line of blood pressure monitors ever, according to the company. The new line captures five times more data points for a more precise reading so interferences, such as breathing and movement, have less of an impact. Premium units include the easy wrap ComFit cuff, which inflates around the entire arm to avoid incorrect positioning. Suggested retail price ranges from $49.99 for its 3 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor to $99.99 for its 10 Series monitors.

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Monitoring kits shrink healthcare costs

BY Michael Johnsen

The American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension this summer plugged home blood-pressure monitoring kits, noting that the self-care diagnostics can save insurance companies money by improving healthcare quality and reducing healthcare costs — both buzz words in the changing healthcare paradigm that places a greater emphasis on preventive health care.

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In the first analysis of its kind, researchers found that for each dollar invested in home monitoring kits, insurance companies could expect a return of 85 cents to $3.75 in the first year. Over 10 years, the return per dollar invested could increase between $7.50 to $19.34.

“Home blood pressure monitors should be reimbursed, widely adopted across America, and integrated into current clinical practice for diagnosis and treatment of hypertension,” said Alejandro Arrieta, the study’s lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Florida International University in Miami. If so, that would certainly jump-start a category that only generates a repeat purchase every five to seven years.

Researchers found reasons for the savings differed by age groups and whether the monitors were used for treatment or diagnosis. In people 65 years and older, home monitoring saved more when used to track high blood-pressure treatment by helping them avoid future adverse cardiovascular events. In people younger than 65 years, savings were higher in diagnostic use of the monitors with fewer false positive diagnoses and fewer people starting unnecessary treatment.

“By improving the accuracy of their blood-pressure assessment and by monitoring their blood pressures outside the clinic setting, patients help themselves, help their physicians and save money for insurance companies,” Arrieta said.

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