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Columbia UMC-trained cardiologists open tech-focused heart clinics in New York: 6 things to know


A group of cardiologists trained at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City is opening a string of technology-infused preventive cardiology clinics across the city, CNBC reports.

The group’s medical startup, Heartbeat, recently opened its clinics to the public after first testing its innovative approach in January with an estimated 2,000 participants. The company currently has two clinics in New York and plans to open two more in the coming months.

Here are six things to know about Heartbeat:

1. Heartbeat, which has raised $2.5 million in venture funding, aims to work with patients who are at risk of developing heart disease and other chronic conditions.

2. Jeffrey Wessler, MD, a cardiology fellow at Columbia University Medical Center, founded Heartbeat in 2016 with a team of cardiologists, data scientists and patient experience specialists. His goal was to help patients at risk for heart disease avoid the condition using lifestyle changes and medical interventions.

“I wanted to figure out whether we could go from a reactive to proactive state,” Dr. Wessler told CNBC. “To me, that’s really the next wave of where healthcare is going.”

3. Heartbeat’s clinics look like a cross between a physician’s office, startup workspace and gym, according to CNBC‘s digital health reporter Christina Farr, who visited one of the sites. On one wall, there’s a sign that reads: “Not just a doctor’s office.”

4. At the clinics, patients undergo standard tests such as blood pressure, blood oxygen, heart rate, electrocardiograms and body mass index calculations. The clinics also boast robust care teams, including a nutritionist and exercise therapist alongside cardiologists. Patients can even sign up to go on a run with a physician in Central Park using the clinic’s online system.

5. Heartbeat’s cardiologists employ various digital technologies, such as offering to review heart rate data from a user’s Fitbit or Apple Watch. One of the most successful uses of technology has been a cardiac ultrasound, which shows patients what their heart looks like while its beating, according to Dr. Wessler.

“It’s an out-of-body experience for some people,” he told CNBC. “A lot of them will say that they need to take better care of their heart.”

6. Today, Heartbeat’s clinics accept Medicare and many major health insurers. A single visit costs $200 and an annual membership is $299 for those paying out-of-pocket.

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