This article was originally published in Start Up
Entrepreneur Jim Sweeney, credited with founding the home infusion therapy industry, heads up CardioNet Inc., a start-up that aims to provide real-time cardiac monitoring, so patients can get prompter treatment. The CardioNet system senses and transmits cardiac events automatically, an important feature, since 40% of heart attack victims aren't even aware that they are experiencing some form of life-threatening event.
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CardioNet created the first product in a new category: mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry. By enabling the continuous monitoring of ambulatory patients for up to 30 days, CardioNet proved - and validated in clinical trials - that it could substantially improve the diagnosis of arrhythmias more effectively than what was then the standard of care. In 2009, the company was approaching profitability when the local Medicare carrier upon which its business depends unexpectedly slashed reimbursement for the company's core product. The management of CardioNet is frustrated. CardioNet has tried to do things the right way. The company validated its technology in a 300-patient controlled clinical trial proving superior efficacy against a gold standard in a disease where early and accurate diagnosis can clearly improve outcomes. Clinicians recognize the value of CardioNet's product, as evidenced by the 50% growth in patient volumes the company enjoyed last year, and the 30 to 40% growth it's expecting for this year. Yet the company fights for the recognition of payors, and for its life. Now, in the face of these reimbursement pressures, CardioNet's number one priority is to gain Medicare reimbursement at the national level, at a rate, it hopes, that recognizes both the costs and value of long-term 24/7 ambulatory monitoring, thereby both validating the company's strategy and supporting the development of wireless medicine as a whole.
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