Monday, April 21, 2008

Tele-Cardiology services reduce costs significantly

The introduction of Tele-Cardiology services can improve patient care and save costs, according to recent study conducted in the UK.

The report, which was published in the TeleHealth World magazine, is based on the findings of a pilot study of a new tele-cardiology service, commissioned by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The research shows significant cost saving potential for the tele-cardiology service. The savings calculated showed a surprisingly short 3.5 months payback time for the investment in the technology. The NHS suggested that when extrapolated to England as a whole the potential financial savings of using such services could be a minimum of £45 million (some $90 million) per annum.

The pilot used Aerotel's HeartView series of hand-held 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) recorder/transmitter devices. These devices are used in an identical manner as conventional ECG machines, except that they can record the ECG and then transmit it wirelessly from a patient’s home or a primary care clinic to a remote tele-cardiology consultation center, where it is captured and displayed on screen.

Practice staff and patients, who participated at the experiment, were overwhelmingly positive about the advent of tele-cardiology equipment in primary care. The report recommended that administrators should consider the use of telemedicine technology in cardiac care in a wide scale due to its significant benefits. It also became evident that as physicians gained confidence in the new technology it became an important tool for supporting clinical decision making to the extent that inappropriate referrals to A&E departments were being prevented.

Read the full article