News | January 16, 2013

Medtronic Launches CareLink Express Service

Pilot shows new remote monitoring service allows quick access to care for patients

January 16, 2013 — Medtronic’s CareLink Express service is a remote monitoring system that enables clinicians in healthcare facilities to quickly obtain data regarding the status of Medtronic implanted cardiac devices, facilitating faster treatment decisions. The service sets a new industry standard in connectivity by enabling a device expert to remotely review service data and sent the information to the hospital within minutes.

“In line with Medtronic’s stated goal of offering products and services that provide enhanced economic value to hospitals and clinicians, our data shows that CareLink Express reduces burdens on physicians and hospitals by increasing workflow efficiency and reducing operating costs,” said Pat Mackin, senior vice president and president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business at Medtronic. “These efficiencies demonstrate that quality of care and cost reduction can work hand-in-hand; it’s not necessary to diminish patient care in order to reduce healthcare costs.”

The new service was evaluated in a 55-site pilot program over 6 months in 2012. In the pilot, hospitals using CareLink Express were able to reduce patient wait times from an average of 84 minutes to less than 15 minutes. The reduced wait times are intended to expedite clinical decision making so that patients receive needed care sooner, and to reduce bottlenecks in settings such as the emergency room.

“Incorporating CareLink Express into our hospital has enabled us to provide better service to our cardiac device patients by providing them faster access to care, while improving our patient flow and decreasing costs related to delays that occur while waiting for device checks to be completed,” said Tina Santos, vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, Mass., which participated in the CareLink Express pilot program. “This new technology has the potential to significantly impact our efforts to reduce costs in our emergency departments and operating rooms.”

Prior to CareLink Express, when cardiac device patients visited emergency departments or operating rooms for any reason – including accidents or illnesses unrelated to their implanted cardiac device – they often had to wait to have their implanted devices checked in person by a qualified device expert. Especially in rural areas, this process could require multiple phone calls, extended stints in hospital waiting rooms and unnecessary trips for clinicians. With CareLink Express, physicians no longer have to wait for a cardiac device expert to arrive to perform device checks; instead, physicians and device representatives remotely evaluate a patient’s device status.

How CareLink Express Works

  • Medtronic provides healthcare facilities with a CareLink Express monitor, which is compatible with almost all Medtronic ICDs (implantable cardioverter defibrillators), CRT (cardiac resynchronization therapy) devices, ICMs (implantable cardiac monitors) and pacemakers. The one-touch monitor is used to check or “interrogate” the implanted Medtronic cardiac device.
  • When a patient with an implanted Medtronic cardiac device arrives at the healthcare facility, the facility staff uses the monitor to check the implanted device and the device data is transmitted to the CareLink Network.
  • When the data is transmitted, a device expert receives an automatic notification via page or email, indicating that new information is available.
  • The device expert reviews the information remotely and provides an assessment of the device status to the hospital.
  • Based on the device assessment, the healthcare facility staff determines the appropriate treatment for the patient.
  • The device data from CareLink Express can be automatically exported to the facility’s electronic health records (EHR). In addition, the implanted device data is automatically sent via the CareLink Network to the patient’s device-following physician, for immediate access.

The CareLink Network is the industry’s longest-running remote monitoring system. CareLink provides healthcare providers and patients the convenience of telemedicine by remotely monitoring patients implanted with Medtronic cardiac devices and providing comprehensive data received from the implanted cardiac devices to their physicians. The CareLink Network currently serves more than 6,600 clinics and 720,000 patients in 33 countries.

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