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The use of a medical device called a pulse oximeter, which measures blood oxygen levels, has increased considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s in part because it’s possible for people with some respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, to have lower than normal blood oxygen levels without showing symptoms. As such, pulse oximeters can play an important role in determining the health of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

Here, we take a closer look at ChoiceMMed and two of their pulse oximeters on the market.

ChoiceMMed America Corporation was founded in 2011 in the United States. The company sells pulse oximeters manufactured by Beijing Choice Electronic Technology Co., which is based in Beijing, China.

ChoiceMMed pulse oximeters use red and infrared light to determine oxygen saturation, or SpO2. To use one, you can place a finger in the clip and press a button to see both your SpO2 and pulse rate (PR).

Here are some pros of ChoiceMMed’s devices, as well as some cons of using a pulse oximeter.

ChoiceMMed pros

  • ChoiceMMed pulse oximeters are portable, allowing you to take note of your SpO2 at home or on the go.
  • The simple design and quick reading capability of ChoiceMMed’s pulse oximeters make the products quick and easy to use, which may help increase usage.
  • In general, pulse oximeters can help you proactively monitor for symptoms and treatments for your respiratory health.

Pulse oximeter cons

  • General limitations. Pulse oximeters, in general, have drawbacks when it comes to how they’re used, and some studies have called their accuracy into question. A recent study indicates that pulse oximeters may not be as effective in determining the SpO2 of Black patients compared with white patients. This can put Black patients at a disadvantage in determining exactly how much supplemental oxygen they need.
  • Best for multiple spot checks. Studies suggest that an over-reliance on a single reading from a pulse oximeter, rather than considering other measurements, may result in some people not getting the supplemental oxygen they need.
  • Window of accuracy. If your pulse oximeter registers 90 percent, then the true oxygen saturation in the blood is generally between 86-94 percent. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pulse oximeter accuracy is highest at saturations of 90 to 100 percent, and the accuracy of the device decreases below 90 percent.
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ChoiceMMed sells two pulse oximeters: the ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter and the ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter with Relaxation Coach.

The ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter ranges in price, from $23 to $35, depending on the retailer. This is slightly more than the average pulse oximeter available at major retailers like Walmart and Target, but it’s not the most expensive option on the market. The device comes with two AAA batteries, a carrying case, and a lanyard.

The ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter with Relaxation Coach is priced at $69.99. The devices pairs with an app to measure stress levels and guide breathing.

ChoiceMMed offers a 2-year limited warranty for their pulse oximeters.

Can you use insurance to buy a pulse oximeter?

These pulse oximeters, like most on the market, are eligible to be used with your health spending account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).

This company offers two different types of pulse oximeter: one meant to be paired with a wellness app and one without.

ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter

This device is a simple, noninvasive way to measure your oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate. It includes an easy-to-read HD display that shows both the SpO2 and PR.

Customers on Walmart’s website give this oximeter an average 4.7 out of 5 stars. Most of the comments mention a reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use device that gives them peace of mind during illness and anxiety.

A few customers say the device didn’t work for them or reported inaccurate SpO2 readings.

ChoiceMMed Pulse Oximeter with Relaxation Coach

This pulse oximeter lets you measure your oxygen level, heart rate, and stress level. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to connect your results to the free ichoice Relax app.

In the app, you can see your oxygen, heart, and stress level trends by day, week, and year with simple graphs. Based on your results, the app provides breathing exercises to improve your body’s natural response to stress.

You can also use the device without the app.

Customers on Target’s website give this device a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, with some lamenting the high price tag of almost $70.

The app is available from the App Store and Google Play store. There aren’t many ratings, but they average 3 stars or less.

Poor ratings from Apple users are based on lack of features, such as not being able to sync to Apple Health and no sound. Poor ratings from Android users note app permissions, confusion on pairing through Bluetooth, and missed expectations for users who wanted continuous monitoring.

Where can you buy ChoiceMMed pulse oximeters?

ChoiceMMed doesn’t sell directly to customers from their website, but their products can be purchased from several online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including:

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Based on the following criteria, ChoiceMMed has an average reputation:

  • The brand doesn’t make any unsupported health claims.
  • There are no known legal or safety concerns about the company or its products.
  • No FDA or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warning letters were found involving the company.
  • No lawsuits involving the company were found.
  • Customer feedback reported from Target, Amazon, and Walmart gave the product high marks.

In a small 2016 clinical study comparing low cost pulse oximeters, two models from Beijing Choice Electronic Technology Co. were tested. One model was found to be inaccurate, while the other was off by as little as 3 percent, which is considered an acceptable difference by industry standards.

To begin, turn the device over and install the two AAA batteries that come included in the packaging. To read your levels, follow these steps:

  1. Open the clamp.
  2. Place your index finger into the pulse oximeter and close the clamp. Note that your finger should touch the bottom portion of the clamp.
  3. Turn on the pulse oximeter by pressing the button one time on the front panel.
  4. Keep still for an accurate reading.
  5. Within about 5 seconds, your readings will appear on the screen. You can change the display mode by pressing the power switch. The device automatically powers off after 8 seconds.

Blood oxygen levels show how well the body is distributing oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This measurement — known as oxygen saturation, or SpO2 — is such an important indicator of health that a recent study calls it “the fifth vital sign.”

Many hospitals and medical facilities use pulse oximeters to keep close tabs on SpO2 in patients. In addition to measuring the percentage of hemoglobin in the blood that is saturated with oxygen, pulse oximeters can also simultaneously measure the pulse rate.

With the information gathered from the pulse oximeter, healthcare professionals can determine whether a patient needs supplemental oxygen and, if so, how much.

Advances in pulse oximeters, specifically the ability to make them wireless and portable, now allow people to monitor their SpO2 at the hospital, home, or on the go.

In addition to ChoiceMMed, there are many brands of pulse oximeters available for at-home use for people of all ages.

Though there is some question about the accuracy of pulse oximeters, particularly when SpO2 drops below 90 percent, oximeters are generally an effective way to get a snapshot of respiratory health.

A healthcare professional can help you determine if a pulse oximeter is a good way for you to self-monitor your health. If you do decide to use a pulse oximeter, ChoiceMMed, in particular, is found by customers to be an easy-to-use and highly portable option.