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WORLD-FIRST: Australian specialists create virtual cardiac clinic, to improve heart health for patients in rural Australia.

21 March 2013

In a world-first, Australian specialists including Dr John Meulet at The Cardiac Centre, Queensland are using Skype® video calls, partnered with Medtronic’s remote monitoring service to provide a virtual clinic for doctors and patients with cardiac devices. Reducing the time and cost associated with in-clinic visits, Specialists view this as a positive step in improving services for patients, while demonstrating the important role of local hospitals in the healthcare spectrum.DSC_4324

The Service enables clinicians in local, accessible healthcare facilities to quickly obtain data regarding the status of Medtronic implanted cardiac devices, including pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, facilitating faster treatment decisions. The service sets a new industry standard in connectivity by enabling a device expert to remotely review device data and send the information to the Specialist and hospital within minutes.

“Incorporating this service into our hospital will enable us to provide better service to our cardiac device patients by providing them faster access to care, while improving our patient flow and decreasing costs related to delays that occur while waiting for device checks to be completed,” said Dr John Meulet, The Cardiac Centre. “This new technology has the potential to significantly impact our efforts, reduce costs for our clinic and for our patients.”

Prior to this remote monitoring express service, when cardiac device patients visited emergency departments or operating rooms for any reason – including accidents or illnesses unrelated to their implanted cardiac device – they often had to wait to have their implanted devices checked in-person by a qualified device expert. Especially in rural areas, this process could require multiple phone calls, extended stints in hospital waiting rooms and unnecessary trips for clinicians. With the new service, physicians no longer have to wait for a cardiac device expert to arrive to perform device checks; instead, physicians and device representatives remotely evaluate a patient’s device status

While Skype isn’t required to upload and review the patient’s clinical data, it provides a mechanism for the doctor and patient to visually connect and create an in-clinic experience.

Patient, Aiden Watt from Goonellabah, NSW shares, “In the past, I was travelling to see my doctor up to four times per year. The experts would check my device, either find nothing wrong or make slight adjustments. This new service means my device can be checked and adjusted closer to home but I can still see my cardiologist and ask questions – all while saving me a five hour journey by car.”

Further to saving patients both time and money, by preventing unnecessary visits to their Specialists, this service reduces burdens on physicians and hospitals by increasing workflow efficiency and reducing operating costs. According to Jamie Stanistreet, Vice President, Medtronic Australasia, “These efficiencies demonstrate that quality of care and cost reduction can work hand-in-hand; it’s not necessary to diminish patient care in order to reduce healthcare costs.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ricardo Mendonça permalink
    6 July 2013 6:14 am

    Very interesting, I think this is de future of medicine, or just the present.

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