View Full Version : Need phone hookup to cell for pacemaker reports

Myk Rian
01-11-2013, 11:37 AM
Not wanting to hijack the VOIP thread, here's another question.
I have a small box that plugs into the phone line, reads my pacemaker, then sends the data to the UofM cardiac center. Works much like a fax/modem.
We no longer have a phone line, so I need something that the box can plug into with a phone cable, then that will connect to my cell via USB.
It was suggested to use Magic Jack or something similar, but if you don't use those services frequently they may shut you down.
Any ideas? I hope I described it sufficiently.

Mike Henderson
01-11-2013, 11:46 AM
Back in the day when cell phones were analog, you could put a modem connection over them, although the speed would be poor. Today, all cell phones are digital and I don't know if any of them have provisions for connecting a modem.

This does bring up a pet peeve of mine regarding the medical profession - they are extremely resistant to modernize their communications technology. For example, most doctors still want to use a fax, although not many people have them any more and better copies can be sent via email. They use the argument that email is not secure, but someone can dial the wrong fax number just as easily, and encryption can be used to protect data sent between a doctor and patient. My own primary care doctor will not respond to email - he has email, and reads it, but will not send a response - he calls, which then gets us into the phone message problem - I'm not home, then when I call him, he's not available, etc.

Other (younger) doctors I've worked with at UCLA are very willing to communicate vial email and it was very valuable when my wife was ill.

A better technique for your monitor would be to plug it into your computer, where the data would be unloaded and then emailed to your doctor.

Sorry for the rant but it's something that really irritates me.


Rick Potter
01-11-2013, 12:02 PM

When I got my pacemaker a couple years ago, they gave me a cordless unit that I use to call in and check it every two months. It has no connection whatever to a land line. All you do is call them, the technician gives me instructions to test, leads me through the process and that's it. That said, I do have a land line and I have use my cordless land line phone handset and it works fine. The phone goes into a cradle in the test unit.

Your question prompted me to call and find out about cell phones, since I had never tried mine. I just called the technician, and she said they now have a lot of people with no land line, using their cell phones with the system. She said there are sometimes problems with cell phones, which are usually resolved by going to a quiet room, with no electronics and no flourescent lights.

Perhaps you could call your provider and check on this type system. Mine is called a 'Carry All PDT', by Instromedix. Made in Israel, and powered by a 9V battery. My medical provider is Kaiser...a HMO.

Hope this helps,
Rick Potter

PS: Mike, Kaiser has a provision for e-mailing your doctor direct right on their website. They also e-mail me with results of tests, usually within a day, it saves a lot of hassle for both sides. Works pretty good.

Ken Fitzgerald
01-11-2013, 12:09 PM
Call the manufacturer of the box and see what they say. If your cell phone is capable of "bluetooth" maybe the box is too and it can connect to your cell phone by simply activating the blue-tooth option on both devices...

Myk Rian
01-11-2013, 12:10 PM
And Doctors still want to carry your 4" thick records around.
I can't connect it to the computer as it has a phone line connection. So it's either a phone line, or nothing. A modem in the computer won't work either, as that requires a phone line.
When the time comes to get a new PM, they provide an adapter to connect to a cell. I can get one of those now, but at $12/month rent, I'll pass on it. I only send a report every 6 months.

Bluetooth would be nice too. But the box doesn't have that.

Jim Becker
01-11-2013, 7:08 PM
My father has the same issue. They recently moved to an assisted living facility and having a regular POTS line was ridiculously expensive at about $50 a month. Since I pay for his wireless service, I added an ATT wireless base station that their regular phones are plugged into for their apartment. But dad cannot plug his pacemaker reporting thingie into it...not compatible with cellular-based transmission. So he just takes the unit and either goes to the community center to use an analog phone line there or visits with a friend who does have a POTS line in their unit.

Myk Rian
01-11-2013, 9:05 PM
So he just takes the unit and either goes to the community center to use an analog phone line there or visits with a friend who does have a POTS line in their unit.
Right now, that's my only option.

Von Bickley
01-12-2013, 3:47 PM

Check with the manufacturer of your unit. I have a pacemaker / defibrillator that downloads every morning at 3:00 AM and sends that info out over the phone line. If I go on vacation or away from home, I can carry the unit with me and it will call out on its on thru a wireless connection ????????.

I have gotten to the point now that I don't carry it with me on trips. If I have some type of event, it will just have to wait until I get home and let it download then.

Gary Hodgin
01-12-2013, 7:23 PM
My mom and dad had pacemaker that were tested over phone and modem. I can't help with your phone problem. My ICD (combo pacemaker/defibrillator) is tested with a Merlin @ Home Transmitter by St. Jude Medical. It provides continues monitoring and is tested every 3 months. I do go to the hospital once a year for more complete testing of the device and check up with my surgeon. All that's necessary for the test is that the device be pointed at me from a nearby table next to my bed. It's all down over a normal electric outlet. Maybe you could get one of these if you can't do something with the phone.

P.S. After thinking about it, I doubt you can use the Merlin because it has to be compatible with your pacemaker. Might not hurt to check though.