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Broomwell’s Cardiac ‘Health Watch’ Could Save NHS Millions with Accurate Arrhythmia Diagnosis
Leading telemedical service provider launches new Arrhythmia-monitoring watch giving early, accurate diagnosis of life-threatening heart conditions
The Arrhythmia Watch is designed to be worn by patients with suspected arrhythmia, enabling them to record their own ECG (electrocardiogram)
Arrhythmias are episodes of irregular heart rhythm that occur when the heart races or slows down without warning. Some arrhythmias can be potentially fatal if left untreated, causing a large number of sudden cardiac deaths in Britain each year. According to cardiac experts, around 80% of these deaths are preventable with the right treatment.
Worn on the wrist, the Arrhythmia Watch looks like a conventional sports watch, but can record a 1-lead ECG in just 40 seconds at the press of a button when the wearer feels symptoms of arrhythmia. The watch can store several episodes of arrhythmia over a period of a week or longer.
Once the patient has captured suspected episodes of arrhythmia, the patient then returns to their GP surgery. The ECG results are downloaded from the watch and transmitted to Broomwell’s Cardiac Monitoring Centre, where a team of expert cardiac clinicians interpret the ECG trace, provide a precise diagnosis and return it to the GP.
A sizeable and busy practice in the North West, St. Gabriel’s Medical Centre in Bury, extensively uses both the 12-lead ECG services and the Arrhythmia Monitoring services. Patients who report arrhythmic symptoms are given (or lent) the Arrhythmia Watch. Dr Jonathan Lieberman, a GP at the practice, has been using the watch for several months and has reported positive results.
He said: “The Arrhythmia Watch has proven very effective in capturing episodes of arrhythmia for several patients. The key advantage is that it accurately captures the arrhythmic event as it happens, which hospital-based tests often cannot do because the episodes are not predictable. It saves patients a great deal of inconvenience and worry, and we get a rapid interpretation from Broomwell’s clinicians.
“The watch also acts as a reassurance for patients who have reported arrhythmia symptoms, which the ECG results have shown were not heart-related, relieving undue anxiety and stress. This helps to reduce cardiac referrals to secondary care, saving a great deal of time for patients, freeing up cardiac ward beds and reducing overall care costs for the NHS.”
Joshua Rowe, CEO of Broomwell HealthWatch said: “Like the 12-lead ECG service, Broomwell’s Arrhythmia Watch benefits all parties concerned. It’s great for patients because it is efficient, quick and convenient and provides peace of mind, and helps the NHS because it significantly reduces costs and frees up resources. By using Broomwell’s ECG monitoring services, GPs reduce referrals, helping to cut waiting times and free up hospital resources, especially since many suspected cardiac-related cases turn out to be non-emergency. This type of service will play a vital role in the future of the NHS.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was diagnosed and treated for this condition after he complained of a continuing ‘flutter’, as was Sir Alex Ferguson, who had a pacemaker fitted to correct the condition.
The symptoms can be particularly uncomfortable with problems such as palpitations, dizziness or blackouts, and shortness of breath. Swift diagnosis of the condition alleviates unnecessary pain and anxiety for the patient, which may be exacerbating the condition further.
Broomwell’s telemedical services provide PCTs and GPs with 24-hour expert diagnostic support for 12-lead ECGs and Arrhythmia Monitoring from a team of senior cardiac clinicians, enabling patients to receive quick convenient care, closer-to-home. The service is a proven cost-effective measure, delivering real benefits to trusts and patients where implemented. It has dramatically cut the number of people having to go to hospital for cardiac-related symptoms and has the potential to transform the standard of cardiac care up and down the country.
Broomwell’s telemedicine technology (12-lead ECGs and Arrhythmia Monitoring services) is used successfully by GP surgeries, walk-in centres and MIUs, across some 40 PCTs in the UK. Two major NHS pilots of the Broomwell technology successfully demonstrated that use of the ECG telemedical service dramatically reduced referrals to A&E and Admissions. These translate to a cost saving of some £100,000,000 per annum. The service is now deployed across virtually all PCTs in Greater Manchester and in many other PCTs across the country.