England’s National Health Service (NHS) has launched its first mobile pacemaker station in the town of Southampton. The station has been designed to allow patients with pacemakers to conduct regular check-ups without having to visit a doctor.
“The pilot study has enabled a number of patients local to the surgery the opportunity to visit whenever they want and head home immediately after their assessment,” Hollie Cottrell, a cardiac physiologist at Southampton General Hospital, said in a press release published recently by University Hospital Southampton.
The pacemaker station is part of the CareLink Express system, which has been designed to streamline the process of carrying out pacemaker check-ups. When using the station, a patient sits down inside a booth. With the guidance of on-screen instructions, the patient holds a monitor against his or her chest, directly over the pacemaker, for a few minutes.
The monitor tests the pacemaker and gathers important data, which is then entered into a secure online monitoring system called CareLink. Doctors and healthcare providers can then access this data remotely and download it for review and analysis.
“Once the team has evaluated their results, patients are sent a letter to inform them transmission was successful and when their next download is scheduled for,” Cottrell said in the press release. “If we spot any problems with the data and want to investigate further, we contact patients at home to inform them of the outcome and what they need to do next — and this can all happen without a trip to hospital.”
For healthcare professionals involved with the CareLink Express project, the new mobile station provides a way to more efficiently allocate resources and to administer healthcare.
“We are constantly looking at ways we can free up patients who don’t need to see medical staff from having to attend clinics while focusing staff time on the minority of patients who actually need to see a doctor,” John Morgan, a consultant cardiologist and remote monitoring lead, said in the press release. “It’s the sort of innovation we need to see more of in the health service to improve the use of NHS resources.”
Image Credit: Medtronic Carelink Express mobile monitoring system