Remote ECGs save money in Manchester
Use of a telemedical electrocardiogram by GPs in Manchester is said to have saved local hospitals £4m in the past year.
Every primary care trust in the Greater Manchester area is now using the telemedical ECG service from Broomwell Health Watch to diagnose patients with chest pains.
It allows GPs to carry out ECGs in their practices, instead of having to refer patients to hospital or a specialist provider.
The patient is hooked up to the device in the GP clinic. Readings are transmitted in an acoustic trace to an expert cardiac clinician by telephone.
The expert gives the GP a verbal diagnosis of whether the reading is abnormal or the patient needs to be referred to a specialist.
The verbal diagnosis is followed by a written assessment of the reading which can be integrated into the GP’s patient information system.
The service has now carried out more than 161,000 interpretations, which has in turn prevented 144,000 patients being referred to hospital.
Broomwell said this saves patients from stress and anxiety by avoiding a 10-day wait for a hospital appointment, as more than 90% can be treated in the primary care setting.
Broomwell said without having the test done by GPs, 63% of patients would typically end up being admitted to hospital through the A&E department.
In Manchester, use of the service has prevented 30,000 referrals to hospital. With each outpatient appointment costing around £155, it’s thought to have saved the Greater Manchester healthcare system £4.5m in the last year.
Karen Gibbons, service improvement manager at the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cardiac and Stroke Network, which carried out the two year pilot, said preventing such a large number of referrals to secondary care was not only a positive for reducing costs.
“Providing this sort of expert diagnosis in a primary care setting not only generates cost and resource savings for the NHS, but it’s also more convenient for patients and ensures they benefit from timely and preventative care.”
Last updated: 5 September 2011 10:57
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