Empowering patients to manage their heart conditions helps physicians create a more successful plan of care and optimal outcomes for those they serve. One of the advances in telecardiology that allows for more in-depth patient assessments is the Holter Portable Monitor. These small hand-held devices are battery operated, and continuously track and record patients’ electrocardiogram (ECG) while they’re at home or on-the-go for between 24 and 48 hours. This allows for more optimal capturing of cardiac symptoms such as low oxygen and delayed electrical impulses that lead to irregular heartbeat.
Expert analysis of these symptoms has been shown to be a key aspect of a successful practice. In a one-month study of 100 general practitioners, it was estimated that professional telecardiology monitoring reduced health care costs by $500,000. The reasons for these savings go beyond patients’ and insurers bottom lines, straight to the heart of patient care. When real world heart data that’s interpreted by expert specialists is available to primary care physicians, communication between patients, their doctors, and secondary care specialists is improved exponentially.
Here are 3 key ways that Holter telemonitoring helps boost PCP knowledge and care.
Valuable Information Conveniently At Your Fingertips
Heart conditions can present in a number of ways, including arrhythmias, hypertension, chest pains, and congestive cardiac failure. Telecardiology interpretation puts Board Certified ECG experts in charge of understanding an individual’s Holter Monitor data in order to ensure an expert diagnosis of the underlying issues behind these indicators. The steady input of information gleaned as patients go about their day-to-day activities allows for patterns to emerge in their cardiac profiles that trained experts can readily recognize. This saves time on patient consultation appointments and allows for fast analyzation of data, which leads to more opportunistic diagnoses.
This is vitally important in order to improve PHP referral rates and obtain a fast and accurate diagnosis. One study showed that 76% of PCP chest pain referrals to cardiologists were actually for non-cardiac events, while 17% of those who were not referred showed an acute coronary event on subsequent ECG tests. This was determined by a tele-consultation with a cardiologist. Telecardiology monitoring has the ability to save lives by providing patients with optimal and efficient diagnoses that help reduce the risk for cardiac events.
For those PCPs who prefer to work hand-in-hand with specialists to form a diagnosis, Holter Monitoring interpretations allow for access to a larger set of quantifiable results to present during peer-to-peer consults. This in turn leads to better insights and an ability to create a more personalized patient care plan. This is especially helpful for early detection of heart conditions for at-risk populations, such as patients who are diabetic, obese, or suffer from chronic kidney disease.
Quick Emergency Response and Early Detection Care
As we’ve just seen, Holter Monitoring interpretations provide primary care physicians with a valuable tool for assessing when referrals to cardiac specialists are needed. This is especially relevant in urgent cases. Sudden cardiac arrest affects 356,000 annually in the U.S. alone, and 90% of these cases are fatal. Telecardiology allows for fast hospital admissions and treatment because data can be transferred directly to emergency personnel.
One example of this is the accelerated treatment rates for a key segment of cardiac patients. Among U.S. patients with acute coronary syndrome, 38% have a type of the condition known as STEMI. Telecardiology diagnoses of this condition has been shown to be the single most important factor in decreasing the time between a patient being admitted to a hospital and their undergoing angioplasty, known as ‘door-to-balloon’ time. This reduction in surgical delay significantly decreases both muscle damage and mortality risk by giving medical teams the vital time needed to properly prepare for procedures.
Telecardiology has also shown promise for early detection of silent myocardial ischemia. Since one in five heart attacks go undetected, the ability to properly recognize indicators of a blockage when no symptoms are present has the potential to stop thousands of cases of heart damage each year. Using the information provided by Holter Monitors and expert interpreters, PCPs can step in and recommend medications, pacemakers, and additional interventions that help to reduce the risk for these life-altering cardiac episodes.
Reduced Costs, Time Constraints & Improved Data Lead to Greater Knowledge
Research has shown that using portable monitoring devices combined with telecardiology services empowers PCPs to manage a larger portion of patients with chest pain, with low referral rates to specialists and hospitals. Another far-reaching study in Europe involving 100,000 patients determined that telecardiology helps doctors who are not cardiac specialists to make better decisions at every stage of cardiac care, from referrals to treatment options to the most cost-effective and beneficial methods of therapy. Their access to a greater wealth of data and specialist insights helps them to detect, understand, and properly treat cardiac conditions.
In addition, one of the biggest issues that PCPs face in their career are malpractice payouts stemming from missed or incomplete diagnoses. In fact, diagnostic errors are the biggest reason for medical malpractice claims. Because telecardiology reduces diagnostic errors and decreases delays in treatment, it can also significantly reduce the risk for malpractice lawsuits that cost PCPs valuable time and money. This extra cost and time savings can then be reinvested back into ongoing training and resources that help PCP’s grow their client-base and depth of care. Since the average malpractice indemnity payment for general practitioners is over $250,000, using a telecardiology service that helps increase correct diagnoses is a valuable way to ensure that more income – and time – can be directed towards PCP learning and growth.
Our national network of U.S., Board-Certified cardiologists are trained to assess heart rhythm, blood flow and other vital cardiac signs delivered by the Holter Monitor. You can learn more about our end-to-end telecardiology services today, including interpretation, project management, PACS technology, customer service, and training for every type of cardiac study.