Remote monitoring: Combating heart diseases through healthcare technology
The incidence of CVD’s has risen over the years due to factors such as smoking, physical activity, family history, diabetes, hypertension, abdominal obesities, psycho- social stress, unhealthy diet, drug use, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity.
A recent report released by WHO highlights that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. CVD’s constitute nearly 31% of deaths worldwide. The incidence of CVD’s has risen over the years due to factors such as smoking, physical activity, family history, diabetes, hypertension, abdominal obesities, psycho- social stress, unhealthy diet, drug use, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity. In order to limit the risk of CVDs, one must lead a heart-healthy lifestyle by exercising daily, eating a healthy diet and undertaking precautionary measures such as quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, getting adequate sleep and avoiding stress.
While leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is important for keeping CVDs at bay, it is mandatory for those suffering from heart conditions. Along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, heart patients must also undergo screening frequently for monitoring heart health and treating abnormalities, if any. For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure or cardiac arrhythmia, monitoring plays a very crucial and pivotal role. This is where new-age advancement technology like remote monitoring can help patients be on top of their heart health and transmit information about the same to their doctor. This technology can be found in devices like ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) and CRTDs (cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker) which are implanted on patients suffering from conditions like cardiac arrhythmia and heart failure.
Remote cardiac monitoring, or remote heart monitoring, is a method by which information from a patient's implantable rhythm management device (pacemaker) can be communicated directly to the cardiac electrophysiologist (doctor) to review a patient's heart activity. Remote monitoring is a powerful tool for off-site cardiac rhythm management. It works through a transmitter which syncs with the patient's implanted device, collecting data about the heart's activity such as its rate and rhythm. The transmitter then sends the information by way of a secure website to the electrophysiologist for assessment and evaluation. This syncing and transmission can happen 24X7, even while the patient is asleep. This enables the doctor who has the medical history of the patient to offer the best medical advice, remotely.
Benefits of remote monitoring for patients:
· Reduced time required for appointment/ travel
· Timely detection and action for specific conditions which require quick attention
· Provide patients with high- quality communication and diagnosis services
· Better quality of care and treatment
· Improves the relationship with patients
Benefits of remote monitoring for doctors:
· Remote monitoring plays a critical role, especially for heart patients with implants, where regular consultations and check-ups are important. Doctors often recommend implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) devices for heart rhythm management of patients with arrhythmia.
In such cases, technologies like remote monitoring help in updating, communicating and increasing engagement between doctors and their patients, without physical presence. It offers the doctors the benefit to effectively manage their patients and reduces time taken to detect abnormalities. The technology is precise and accurate. Helps detect and manage the arrythmias with efficacy.
Remote monitoring is redefining the doctor-patient connect by making it possible for patients to be connected with their medical experts round the clock and be an integral part of their own disease management process. The technology has evolved over time from bedside monitors to smartphone and Bluetooth enabled devices for making the patient engagement experience more enriching and comfortable. The new ICDs are a minicomputer or Bluetooth device that is implanted under the skin of the upper chest area and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It is capable of monitoring the heart constantly and deliver therapy in the form of a shock, when it senses an abnormal heart rhythm. While they help in maintaining heart rhythm, they also store information that the doctor can use to program the ICD for the best possible therapy. It is powerfully connected and helps streamline communication and increase engagement between doctors and their patients. The app allows patients to engage more frequently with their healthcare team by providing access to transmission history and device performance. Through the app, physicians can monitor their patients remotely, allowing for identification of asymptomatic episodes as well as patient-triggered transmissions, which can lead to earlier intervention.