August 24, 2012
2 min read

Cardiac device remote monitoring system launched in US

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Medtronic announced the recent US launch of the CareLink Express Service, a remote monitoring system that enables clinicians in health care facilities to quickly obtain data regarding the status of implanted cardiac devices, according to a press release.

Health care facilities are provided with a one-touch CareLink Express monitor — compatible with almost all Medtronic implantable cardioverter defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, implantable cardiac monitors and pacemakers — to check the implanted cardiac device. The device data are transmitted to the CareLink Network, and 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, and the health care facility staff then determines the appropriate treatment for the patient. Device data can be automatically exported to the facility’s electronic health records and are automatically sent via the CareLink Network to the patient’s device-following physician for immediate access, according to the release.

The CareLink Express Service was evaluated in a 55-site pilot program during the past 6 months. In the pilot, hospitals using the service were able to reduce patient wait times from 84 minutes to less than 15 minutes.

Mark Mitchell, MD, director of the clinical cardiac electrophysiology laboratory at Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., participated in the pilot program.

“We have been able to review the data on these patients remotely and discuss the findings with the emergency services physician more rapidly. We have found that 90% to 95% of patients who are evaluated in this environment do not have a device or rhythm problem, thus allowing early reassurance for the patient and prompt cardiac intervention/reprogramming for those that require it,” Mitchell told Cardiology Today.

This technology can help address the increasing number of patients with implanted cardiac devices, the relative shortage of trained personnel available to evaluate the service these devices in a prompt fashion, and the increased need to control health care costs, he said.

“We found that CareLink Express has improved our efficiency by allowing our electrophysiology team to evaluate patient devices more promptly. We are utilizing this technology in the ED; the [post-anesthesia care unit]; on the hospital wards; for next day monitoring of post-implant checks; and at other satellite hospitals to check our patients remotely,” Mitchell said. “The ability for increased input by electrophysiologists may help to improve patient care. Additionally, it will help to reduce health care costs by reducing the number of unnecessary patient transfers and admissions, while at the same time ensuring that patients with device-related problems are triaged more quickly so they can obtain appropriate care.”

The CareLink Network currently serves more than 6,600 clinics and 720,000 patients in 33 countries, according to the release.

Disclosure: Dr. Mitchell reports financial involvement with Biotronik, Boehringer Ingelheim, Medtronic and Sorin.