Review: MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
On the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, startup MOCACARE released its MOCAheart heart health tracker, a small portable health monitor that pairs with a companion app to help you keep track of medical data. The company has taken the next logical step in its lineup this year with MOCACuff, a wireless wrist blood pressure monitor that uses Bluetooth to connect to the MOCACARE app on your iPhone, letting you keep track of your blood pressure, and providing actionable insights to improve your cardiovascular health. MOCACARE notes that MOCACuff is medically accurate and has received FDA-clearance in the U.S., and is CE-certified in Europe.
The MOCACuff unit is about the size of a hockey puck, with a wrap-around wrist strap built onto it, and a large backlit LCD display for clearly displaying blood pressure measurement results and other status information. It’s powered by two included AAA batteries that the company claims will provide about 200 measurements. The package also includes a carrying case.
MOCACuff can work as a standalone wrist blood pressure monitor right out of the box — using it is a matter of just putting it on your wrist, following the recommendations for proper posture and position, and pressing the “Start” button; MOCACuff will display the results for your blood pressure and heart rate directly on the screen, along with an indicator that shows where you stand on the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) color-coded chart for normal blood pressure levels. MOCACuff can also store up to 99 measurements in its own internal memory, which can be cycled through on the screen, including an average of the last three measurements.
The real power of MOCACuff comes in its app integration — the free companion MOCACARE app allows you to not only sync this data to your iPhone to keep track of it, but also provides an analysis of the results with tips and insights to improve your health. MOCACARE is an updated version of the original MOCAheart app released last year, extended to add support for the MOCACuff, so if you have both devices, the single app has you covered. Pairing and syncing data is extremely simple — on first use you press a single button on the MOCACuff to initiate Bluetooth pairing mode and the app should just recognize the MOCACuff unit and pair with it automatically. Once paired, the app will automatically sync data whenever the MOCACuff is in range and powered on. After each sync, the most recent measurement is displayed right away, along with health tips and insights.
Previous measurements can be viewed from the “My History” section of the app, and can be viewed as either a list or in chart form, and a “My Contacts” section allows you to securely share health results with doctors and loved ones using a HIPAA-compliant messaging system. As before, MOCACARE also syncs with Apple’s Health app — with your permission, of course — to pull in relevant health data such as your date of birth, gender, height, and weight; other medical profile information can be entered manually in the MOCACARE app should you so desire. Unfortunately, MOCACARE doesn’t yet push blood pressure or heart rate data from MOCACuff to Apple HealthKit. However, it’s worth noting that we had a similar concern last year with MOCAheart, but it appears that the MOCACARE app has since been updated to push heart rate and oxygen saturation measurements from MOCAheart to HealthKit, so we’re hoping that a similar update for MOCACuff is on its way, particularly as “Heart Rate” is already included in the write permissions that MOCACARE requests from HealthKit.
Like MOCACARE’s first product, MOCACuff is a well thought out health monitor. If anything, the app has improved since last year. We like the intuitive design and the fact that you don’t need to be tied to an iPhone to actually use it — you can take readings and sync them at your convenience, rather than having to always reach for your iPhone and open an app before taking a measurement. Compared to MOCAheart, MOCACuff is much more affordable, though there’s still a premium compared to most non-connected blood pressure monitors. (As of this writing, the special launch price is a very reasonable $49.) If you have high blood pressure and struggle to keep it under control, you’ll likely find the tracking and health insights provided by the MOCACARE app to be well worth the price.