Vector Remote Care - BendTECH

Vector Remote Care, a company that grew too big for BendTECH

When Kevin Hoffman was 13 years old, his mother suddenly and unexpectedly suffered a cardiac arrest
while on a family ski trip. She survived and largely recovered, and to prevent further cardiac events, an
implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) was surgically inserted into her chest to regulate her
heartbeat. But a minor car accident caused unseen damage to the ICD, which malfunctioned as a result,
doling out 19 unneeded electric shocks to her heart in a matter of minutes on a day when she was
working as a substitute teacher. Again, Hoffman’s mother survived the event, but the recovery was once
again difficult.

“If she had home monitoring, like we do today, we would have been able to see that there was a
problem with that device,” says Hoffman. “We would have brought the patient in, turned the device off,
gone back into surgery and fixed it.”

 


 

Inspired to improve pacemaker and ICD monitoring technology, Hoffman studied at South Carolina’s
Arrhythmia and Technologies Institute and eventually founded a business that specializes in monitoring
implanted cardiac devices for cardiology clinics across the United States, a company he named Vector
Remote Care, or, more simply, Vector.
Remote pacemaker monitoring has existed for decades, but Hoffman’s Vector is harnessing cutting-edge
mobile technology to make the process quicker, easier and vastly more comprehensive.
“A cardiovascular technologist would call up a patient, and the patient would put on an EKG wristband,
and then they’d set the phone on an audio monitor and the heartbeat would transmit through sound
over the phone, which would then be recorded on the other end of the line to create an EKG,” says
Hoffman of the outdated system. “Then, the patient would take up a magnet and hold it over the
pacemaker in their chest, which would cause the pacemaker to create a different heart rate.”
“It worked, but, basically, all the old tests used to do is check, hey, is the pacemaker working?”
Hoffman’s plan for Vector is to bring that type of monitoring into the mobile, digital age.
“Vector can remotely test pacemakers on people with either a smartphone connection to their
implanted cardiac device or a bedside monitor,” he says. “The device communicates with that monitor
or that smartphone either in real time or once a day, and it monitors and records all the heartbeats,
heart rate diagnostics, and everything that’s going on with that device. Our job is to make sure that
those reports get summarized for the clinic, which lets a doctor take action for those patients, if
needed.”

 


 

Hoffman founded Vector in Southern California, where a successful pilot program allowed him to grow
the company. In December of 2016, he moved the company—and his family, including three young
children—to Bend, Oregon, where he headquartered Vector at the BendTECH offices on SW Emkay Dr.
“We came to Bend for the outdoors, and because we knew that the schools are great,” he says. Then he
smiles. “But to be honest, it’s people that has really proven to be the best thing about this place.”
“And that’s certainly true about BendTECH, too. People here were interested in what I was doing and
wiling to introduce me to people who might be able to help. They were so willing to share resources and

take time to have conversations. And it was so genuine. I wouldn’t have gotten a lot of really valuable
insight without coming here.”
“Those resources and that networking are really important,” continues Hoffman. “And that comes in so
many different forms at BendTECH. We have a partnership with two people in this space currently, one
for our content creation and one for our IT architecture. There are just so many different people doing
so many different things at a high level. It’s kind of awesome.”

 


 

Vector recently outgrew their office space at BendTECH, which is becoming a more and more common
occurrence as companies founded or expanded at the coworking space continue to experience success.
To keep up with their growth, Hoffman leased a dedicated office for his growing company a few miles
down the road.
“It’s going to be an awesome spot, and I’m glad to get to work up there,” he says. “But it’ll be quiet. It
won’t be the center of so many things that are going on, like BendTECH is. This has been the perfect
place to grow the company. But we’re growing fast right now; 12,000 baby boomers a day turn 65, and
that’ll be true for the next nine years. Our primary patient demographic is people with pacemakers and
ICDs, and those devices tend to be used for people who are 65-plus. So, we’ve got our work cut out for
us for a while, which is a good thing.”