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Friday 20th April 2018

Cardiac trial may save millions

25th May 2007

A cardiac telemedicine scheme piloted in the north west of England has revealed that the NHS could reduce costs by millions of pounds as hundreds of lives are potentially saved by early detection of heart conditions.

The 18-month pilot scheme in Cumbria and Lancashire trialed advanced cardiac telemedicine devices at 15 GP surgeries and two walk-in centres.

Hand-held 12-lead ECG machines – provided by Broomwell Healthwatch - are used by a nurse, clinician or paramedic in the same way as a conventional machine.

Once complete, the ECG data is transmitted by telephone in 45 seconds to Broomwell’s monitoring centre and displayed on screen for interpretation by experienced clinicians, offering patients the benefit of early detection.

An instant verbal interpretation can be given by phone so prompt action can be taken if needed. A full written ECG report is also sent to the GP.

The pilot with NHS North West, in collaboration with the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Cardiac Network, concluded that if introduced nationally the technology could save 100s of lives, lead to 45,000 fewer hospital admissions and save the NHS around £46m.

Senior medical adviser for the pilot Steve Ward said: “A patient can have an ECG taken immediately with the device and not have to wait long for results to see if any further action is necessary.?

Data from the pilot showed 82% of patients receiving ECGs did not need to go to hospital following the test. That gave patients rapid reassurance and reduced their stress and anxiety.


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