Fortunately, practices are acknowledging that introducing technology alternatives is easier than anticipated and actually streamlines the process and enhances patient outcomes.
For years cardiologists have relied on traditional remote cardiac monitors. A legacy monitor either requires the patient to return the unit to the physician’s office or mail it back to a third-party service provider after a period of days and wait for results—sometimes delayed by weeks—while the third-party performs the diagnostic analysis. In a scenario where the monitor diagnosis eventually shows evidence that an arrhythmia has occurred, the delay puts the patient at risk. The delay also eliminates cardiologist control over the data review, timing, diagnosis, and care of the patient.
Now doctors can fit a patient with a device and get near real-time and current full-disclosure data over a secure internet connection. If a patient remotely presses a button on the device or calls reporting experiencing symptoms, the cardiologist can quickly see the patient’s up-to-date data on a cell phone, tablet, or PC and make a critical cardiac arrhythmia diagnosis instantly. This is a dramatic alternative to having a patient return the legacy cardiac monitor, to a third-party provider and wait on the results.
Gaining clinical adoption for any change is the biggest hurdle for cardiologists. Changing clinical workflow is very complex and difficult for a process that likes routine and repeatability. Deviation finds clinicians having to stop and explain “why” ─ and they don’t have time for that. Fitting into workflows or improving them is the battle cry for vendors. Yet even if you have a better workflow, the technology must work. The task: make a clinician’s job easier, provide a way to provide safe and effective care with less worry on the technology and more focus on the patient. Cardiologists want total control over the device, feedback, and diagnosis for patient outcomes.
Electrophysiologist Michael Mazzini, MD, shared his cardiology practice’s experiences adding a full-disclosure remote monitoring device (RMD) to their testing protocol.
“One of the concerns that we initially had, especially in our busy, independent practice, was a potential disruption in workflow for our staff; however, it has been very easy to on-board people and has streamlined our workflow quite a bit. For example, if we have a patient who has never had any telemetry monitoring, we can start Holter monitoring, and if the Holter is nondiagnostic, we can transition them to event monitoring or MCT with just the click of a button. This has made things remarkably easy for the physicians and staff. It eliminates making a patient turn in an old unit to check out a different one or wait a period of time before they get a different unit.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are encouraging and setting their older family members up with the connectivity and the devices they need to take advantage of a telehealth visit. In many cases the patient may be able to avoid a trip to the emergency room while a phone call or video call may direct the patient to visit the hospital immediately.
In order to make telehealth accessible to everyone, we must implement connectivity for patients in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Finally, physicians must have the information they need which requires access to patient data in real-time—from monitoring devices, testing platforms, and laboratory systems.
The future of cardiac patient care is in elimination of redundant processes experienced when using a third party to provide monitoring services—while providing real-time, fast diagnosis, and revolutionary cardiac arrythmia care.
Stuart Long is the CEO of InfoBionic, the Boston-based manufacturer of the MoMe® Kardia ambulatory cardiac monitoring platform. Long has over 20 years in the medical device industry and also has held management positions in both hospital-based radiology and non-invasive cardiology.