Southampton City PCT is to begin use of a telemedicine electrocardiogram interpretation service to give expert cardiology reporting for patients in clinics.
The service, provided by Broomwell Healthwatch, offers immediate diagnosis from qualified cardiac specialists to clinicians at a primary care level, and should help to reduce pressures on acute healthcare providers within Southampton City PCT.
The PCT hopes that the new cardiac monitoring service, called Heartview Professional, will help reduce the need for inappropriate hospitalisation for ECGs for patients with chest pains.
According to Broomwell, the cardiac telecare service offers non-cardiac specialist clinicians accurate, expert, diagnostic support, enabling them to make informed clinical decisions and provide preventative support to patients with chest pain symptoms.
Chris Webb, specialist and clinical equipment services manager for Southampton City PCT said: “The Heartview Professional service has proved to be an invaluable asset to Southampton City PCT and there has been good support for the service from the PCT’s cardiac team. Work is now under way to expand the usage into GP practices.”
Webb added: “Delivering optimal patient care is the Trust’s priority and having access to fast, expert advice on sometimes complex cardiac issues is an invaluable aid.”
Southampton City PCT has in excess of 250,000 registered patients. With a single cardiac bed costing the PCT £3000 per week, the Heartview Professional service should improve patient care and ensure NHS resources are put to best use by helping reduce the number of patient referrals to local acute hospitals.
Webb added: “For Southampton City PCT, the Broomwell service has been of tremendous value. It is flexible, available round-the-clock and the staff are always helpful, and we are now looking to widen the usage across more PCT services. I believe that cardiac telemedicine such as this should be deployed more widely within the primary care environment as the results show a benefit to patients.”
According to Broomwell, recent research has found that 90% of symptomatic patients were managed and reassured by their local GP, and did not need hospitalisation, through the use of Heartview.
Previously, patients with known cardiac conditions within Southampton City PCT were often admitted straight to hospital for an ECG, which was a time consuming expensive, and not always the most appropriate treatment.
Webb said: “Cardiac telemedicine can compliment the expertise of local cardiologists to community services, which helps to ensure NHS resources are optimised and used effectively.”
Broomwell says the service has proven to be a vital diagnostic aid for both GPs and nurse practitioners in other parts of the UK in making informed clinical decisions and improving outcomes.
The company also says the service provides strong clinical risk management; ensuring patients receive the correct care.
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