Healthcare systems are under strain throughout Europe. We are seeing an explosion in costs, a shortage of skilled workers and physicians while, at the same time, facing an ageing population. However, with intelligent use of new technologies and service models healthcare providers can help improve patient care and support the healthcare system.
Our web-based service platform Bittium MedicalSuite™ is a good example. It facilitates secure information sharing and workflow management between service providers, clinics and specialists. Swiss healthcare provider evismo makes an excellent case of a successful implementation. In cooperation with Bittium, evismo implemented an efficient solution for long-term ECG which makes life easier for both doctors and patients.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), strokes are among the three most common causes of death worldwide. They often cause long-term disabilities. Up to 80 percent of strokes would be preventable if the main risk factors were monitored at an early stage. In up to 90 percent of the cases, a 24/48 hour ECG Holter monitoring does not, however, provide unambiguous results. This is, of course, very frustrating and even scary. It is especially so for the patients who have to wait for a second appointment. This is why physicians are more in favor of long-term ECGs. The trouble is that in the current healthcare system they often lead to longer waiting times.
An additional challenge comes with the limitation of responsibilities among medical practitioners. In countries like Switzerland, so far only cardiologists can evaluate and agree to a long-term ECG with health insurers. As the first and familiar point of contact for the patient, general practitioners often have no choice but to refer the patient to the cardiac specialist for follow-up examinations, some of which can be complex and lengthy.
Connected ECG Service
Utilizing the MedicalSuite™ technology, Bittium and evismo jointly developed an efficient solution for 1 to 30 day ECG remote monitoring. The resulting evismo-CardioFlex is a wireless, long-term ECG service with maximum diagnostic reliability for general practitioners, cardiologists, clinics, stroke centers, hospitals, and other medical professionals. With CardioFlex the accuracy of the diagnosis is increased by around 10 times compared to the previously standard 24/48-hour Holter.
evismo accesses the ECG and movement data remotely every day and checks if the available information is sufficient for a diagnosis. The vital parameters, which are continuously measured by a lightweight, waterproof ECG sensor Bittium Faros™, are transmitted daily to the evismo platform. The wireless and strongly encrypted transmission of the ECG data is done via a dedicated, highly secure Bittium MedicalSuite Mobile Device with a corresponding app.
The daily data check and ECG analysis is only run until a diagnosis can be made. The ECG sensor is worn for as short a time as possible, but as long as is necessary. This reduces the need for multiple examinations. It makes diagnosis and treatment faster. As a result, patient satisfaction increases and doctors´ and medical staff´s workload gets lighter. It also lowers diagnostic costs. As soon as the sensor can be removed, the patient gets a notification from the special app. The data is analyzed and the referring cardiologist, or a cardiologist from the Swiss evismo service center, then makes a diagnosis. The costs for such ECG examinations are covered in Switzerland by the basic insurance of the Swiss health insurance companies.
In the future, evismo plans to expand the current set-up. The aim is to consolidate the recording and evaluation of other vital parameters, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, EEG, etc., on one medical platform. Based on the recorded vital parameters, the company will provide remote monitoring, e.g. for chronically ill patients, or offer medical care at home after hospitalization, whereby patients can be discharged earlier and monitored reliably. Bittium is looking forward to supporting the future endeavors of the dedicated evismo team.
Growing with Each Partnership
We value the feedback and insight provided by our partners. With customers and partners like evismo, we continually develop and optimize our product offering around Bittium MedicalSuite, for example, by simplifying the handling and evaluation of the ECG data. Each new collaboration project provides additional ideas and demands for specific features and guides us to solution expansions that consequently benefit all customers in the future.
Author: Jaakko Sammelvuo, Director, MedAnalytics Services, Bittium