May 21, 2008 — According to a new study released at Heart Rhythm 2008, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 29th Annual Scientific Sessions, wireless technology that allows evaluation of implantable cardiovascular electronic devices from the patient’s home is increasingly being embraced by patients and may significantly improve the number of patients served without requiring additional resources.
The study is the first to show how this rapidly evolving technology can increase the number of patient evaluations without directly increasing demands on clinic staff time and resources.
The number of follow-up visits for patients with a cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED) exceeds 5.8 million visits each year, and will continue to increase as more CIEDs, such as a pacemaker, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device, are implanted. As the number of ICD implantations continues to grow, increasing the need for device follow-up visits, study results show that clinics should consider remote monitoring as a supplemental evaluation method for patients in an attempt to maximize clinic resources and provide better patient care.
The study, conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, tracked ongoing ICD device follow-up patient visits over a four year period. Each ICD patient was offered the option of in-person device follow-up or device follow-up supplemented with remote monitoring. The patients who chose remote monitoring were evaluated from home through transmitter use. Between 2003 and 2007, the total number of ICD evaluations increased by 164 percent, allowing for improvements in time management and overall utilization of in-clinic resources. During the study, remote evaluations increased dramatically from 94 to more than 5,000 patients.
“We increased our total number of patient evaluations over the past five years, without as much strain as seeing all of the patients in clinic,” said Elizabeth Ching, lead author and RN at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. “This growth is a direct result of the clinic’s incorporation of ICD follow-up through remote monitoring evaluations, allowing for better time management and overall improvements in resource allocation.”
For more information: www.hrsonline.org