BLOG POST: "We Have a Delivery for You" - ECG On Demand as a Mail-Order Service -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

22.10.2020

Bittium Biosignals Oy

BLOG POST: "We Have a Delivery for You" - ECG On Demand as a Mail-Order Service

Our Medical Technology team puts in long hours of hard work and passion to develop products that help tackle healthcare challenges. The most satisfying reward for us as developers is to see how these products have actually helped to create new services that make the patient’s life easier and safer. One such example is the success story of the ECG On-Demand® mail order service by award-winning UK based Medical Service Provider Technomed Ltd. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, both primary and secondary care stopped in-house ECG Holter fitting. Technomed demonstrated that high quality cardiac monitoring is now possible without patients having to leave their homes.

The Challenge
The healthcare industry all over Europe is experiencing challenges that include a lack of clinical resources to meet the demand. In the UK, 90 percent of the healthcare services are public sector funded. This means that the National Health Service (NHS) has a fixed amount of funding despite the growing demand, e.g. from an aging population. Even prior to 2020, the growing demands to monitor patients with cardiac symptoms resulted in long waiting lists. At the same time a trend exists to have longer ambulatory ECG monitoring periods because they provide more accurate diagnostic results.This trend feeds the need to have comfortable devices that can be worn for a long periods of time while connecting to a cost-effective, high-quality remote analysis service.

Technomed has been providing ECG On-Demand® services, including immediate 12-lead ECG interpretation and same-day Holter monitor analysis, since 2010. The idea to offer the service as a mail-order was in development early 2020 but the COVID-19 breakout expedited the roll-out. Not only was a mail-order service a very good way to meet the growing demand for ECG services with an efficient and effective means of undertaking diagnostics, it also became a necessity when in-house Holter fitting was no longer possible due to the additional restrictions posed by the pandemic.

The Perfect Fit
The basis for any ECG examination is the recording device itself. Technomed’s Managing Director Mark Hashemi summarizes why they picked Bittium Faros™:  “We needed an ambulatory ECG monitor that was easy enough for a patient to fit themselves whilst providing a high-quality, low artefact ECG recording for our analysts. The Bittium Faros device fulfilled these requirements perfectly. The devices were configured to start recording automatically on skin contact. The waterproof nature of Faros and electrodes meant the monitor was truly “fit and forget” for monitoring for up to 7-days. Our average test success rate of 97 percent for patient self-fit monitoring speaks for itself.”

The waterproof Bittium Faros ECG devices together with Bittium wearable patch electrodes make the patient’s life easier during long-term (3-30 days) ECG recordings. The patch electrode can be easily attached to the chest and it can be used for 3 to 7 days at a time. After this, the measurement can be continued by replacing the patch electrode with a new one. The waterproof devices and patch electrodes allow the monitored person to be active, do sports and shower without having to remove the ECG and stop the recording. The devices are certified as medical CE class IIa and FDA 510(k) and class II medical devices. 

A Genuine Affair of the Heart
The healthcare system is known not to be very quick in adopting new services or processes, like a mail-order service. With the outbreak of COVID-19, however, the demand for a “contactless” method to provide ECG service practically exploded as visits to healthcare facilities were no longer possible for many patients. 

The Technomed team mobilized all its resources. It organized all logistical processes, such as drop-off and pick-up coordination with the patient via a courier service, as well as telephone support to help guide patients seamlessly through the process. It also created a video guide and a step-by-step manual with an accompanying diary App with which symptoms could be recorded. In this crisis it was especially important to make sure patients and practitioners were getting all the support they needed. 

The result is a convenient ‘mail-order Holter kit’. It consists of a pre-programmed Bittium Faros™ Holter device, hypoallergenic long-term electrodes, skin-prep abrasive wipes, disposable razor and comprehensive instructions on how to apply. The kit enables cardiac arrhythmia investigations without having to go to hospital. This helps reduces stress for both the patient and the cardiology department while clinicians quick access to the necessary diagnostic results to initiate treatment.

High Demand and International Interest
The feedback received from physicians praises the innovation. The service has dramatically reduced wait-times while allowing essential cardiology diagnostics to continue without the need for a face-to-face appointment. The quality of the cardio scans and the resulting reports exceeded the expectations of most clinics. Patients report that the service is professional, efficient, and application easy to undertake.

Predominantly, the Technomed mail-order service has been adopted by NHS hospital trusts. Initially it was a means to keep services running in the early days of COVID-19. Subsequently it has helped clear backlog in diagnostics. Today Technomed works with leading NHS and private hospitals in the UK, including the most prominent London-based teaching hospital. International co-operations utilizing Bittium Faros include research projects with institutions such as the German Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine, the Herzinstitut Berlin.

 
Author: Santtu Remes, Sales Manager, Bittium
Santtu Remes has almost 10 years of experience in sales and product management of cardiology products. He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Marketing and International Business. Mr. Remes joined Bittium in 2016 along with Bittium’s business acquisition of medical device manufacturing company; Mega Electronics Ltd. Currently he is responsible for sales and business development activities for the medical technologies product portfolio.

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