Headlines: August 5th, 2008

NHS North West has completed two telemedicine trials in conjunction with Lancashire & South Cumbria and Greater Manchester & Cheshire Cardiac Networks, using Broomwell’s telemedical heart monitoring service. The six month long trials have shown just how effective cardiac telemedicine can be within primary care.

The ECG service was deployed in GP surgeries and health centres across the North West giving patients easy access to ECG tests, meaning they receive timely, convenient and in some cases preventative care.

Clinicians at the surgery or walk-in centre record an ECG on a patient then transmit it, via a telephone, to Broomwell’s call centre where an expert team is available 24/7 to give an immediate verbal interpretation of the results, followed, within minutes, by an emailed or faxed written report.

The ECG service effectively imports ECG expertise into every surgery, meaning patients with chest-pain symptoms don’t have to go back and forth to hospital and wait weeks for a test result. The service means they are diagnosed on the spot, making it more convenient and less stressful for them.

The trial results have been translated into a national picture, and they show that across some 10,500 surgeries in England, the use of telemedicne could result in the prevention of 432,000 referrals to hospital outpatients or A&E departments. This would give an annual saving to the NHS of 100,000 pounds.