Garmin releases the first smart blood pressure monitor
Garmin now has an FDA-cleared (not FDA-approved) smart blood pressure monitor to go along with its other health-focused wearables. The Garmin Index BPM Smart Blood Pressure Monitor measures systolic and diastolic blood pressure and syncs that data with the Garmin Connect mobile app, which is also compatible with Garmin products such as smartwatches, chest straps, smart scales, and cycle computers.
Users may set reminders to measure their blood pressure, and results are accessible in 7-day, 4-week, and 1-year reports, which can be saved as a PDF and shared with a health care practitioner. The Index can monitor up to 16 users’ unique readings and connect them to their own Garmin Connect accounts, and the cuff is adjustable to accommodate arm sizes ranging from 9 to 17 inches in diameter. The Index BPM takes four AAA batteries and has a battery life of up to nine months.
Despite Garmin’s ‘small’ description, the gadget is somewhat large, resembling an InReach satellite phone. Unfortunately, we’ll have to put up with that heft for a little longer since it’s unclear how well smartwatches will work for blood pressure monitoring.
The Index BPM is FDA-cleared, which means the producer can show that the product is “essentially identical” to a similar and legal market device with either FDA clearance or the gold standard FDA approval. Concurrently, competing health business Withings revealed in 2011 its first blood pressure monitor capable of linking to an iPhone. Withings has now developed many different versions of smart blood pressure monitors, including the similarly FDA-cleared Withings BPM Connect. So, although this is Garmin’s first effort at a dedicated smart BPM gadget, it isn’t exactly breaking new ground.