The healthcare industry across Europe is facing challenges such as the lack of clinical resources. Health services in many countries are also funded mainly from the public sector. The growing demand for services must therefore be met with a limited budget. Among other things, this leads to long waiting times for examinations such as ECG monitoring of patients with cardiac symptoms. Intelligent medical devices and innovative services open-up an opportunity to meet this challenge. They form the basis for more time- and cost-efficient health services without jeopardizing the quality of medical care.
Intelligent medical technology as a crisis helper
The health system is not known to take up new services and processes at lightning speed. With the outbreak of Covid-19, however, the demand for a “contactless” way to provide ECG services exploded. The reason: visits to a clinic or health care facility were no longer possible for many patients due to isolation measures, the risk of infection and overextension of healthcare facilities. In many clinics and practices, in-house ECG Holter fitting ceased during the pandemic. In this crisis, a new service model was able to demonstrate that high quality heart monitoring is now possible without patients having to leave their homes.
With the ECG OnDemand® mail-order service by cardiological diagnostic service provider Technomed Ltd. from Great Britain, the mobile ECG device Bittium Faros™ is delivered directly to the patient's home by courier service. The service enables cardiac arrhythmia examinations without hospitalization or visiting a medical facility. This reduces stress on both the patient and the cardiology department, and it quickly provides clinicians with the necessary diagnostic results to initiate treatment.
Recording quality, ease of use and comfort are key
The basis for any ECG examination is the recording device itself. It needs to fulfil all necessary medical certifications, deliver high quality recordings as well as the required reporting options and connectivity features. For long-term recordings it also needs to be comfortable and durable, so it does not become a hindrance for the patient’s daily life. Another key element for a remote mail-order service is the ease of use.
The waterproof nature of Faros and electrodes meant the monitor was truly “fit and forget” for monitoring for up to 7-daysMark Hashemi
“We needed an ambulatory ECG monitor that was easy enough for a patient to fit themselves whilst providing a high-quality, low artefact ECG recording for our analysts. The Bittium Faros device fulfilled these requirements perfectly”, states Mark Hashemi, Managing Director of Technomed. “The devices were configured to start recording automatically on skin contact. The waterproof nature of Faros and electrodes meant the monitor was truly “fit and forget” for monitoring for up to 7-days. Our average test success rate of 97 percent for patient self-fit monitoring speaks for itself.”
Logistics and support for a hassle-free application
The idea of offering an ECG- on-demand service as a dispatch service was already under development. But with the Covid-19 breakout, for Technomed the demand for an alternative ECG monitoring service without visits to a healthcare facility practically exploded. The team mobilized all resources for the organization of the logistical processes to support patients and medical professionals in this crisis.
In addition to coordinating the delivery of devices to patients via a courier service, a telephone service was set up to guide patients seamlessly through the process. Video instructions and a manual with detailed instructions form the basis for the easy fitting and use of the ECG device. The Bittium Faros™ Holter device is delivered with hypoallergenic long-term electrodes and is configured to start recording automatically on skin contact, which makes the handling particularly easy for the patient. An app supports the recording of symptoms.
High market demand and international interest
Physician feedback praised the innovation of the service offer, which drastically shortened waiting times and enabled the essential cardiological diagnostics without the need for a personal appointment. Patients have reported the service to be professional, efficient and application easy to undertake. Today Technomed works with leading NHS and private hospitals in the UK, while international cooperation includes research projects with institutions such as the German Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine, the Herzinstitut Berlin.
“Smart medical technology-based end-to-end services have the potential to help tackle many of today’s most significant challenges for our healthcare systems”, said Arto Pietilä, Senior Vice President of Medical Technologies at Bittium. “We are extremely pleased to see how committed healthcare service providers such as Technomed utilize our medtech products to support patients and healthcare professionals.”
Find more information at www.bittium.com