In an analysis of the results of the first 12 months' use of the telemedical ECG service from Broomwell HealthWatch across four PCTs (48 surgeries), General Practitioners (GPs) stated that 58 percent of patients would have been referred to hospital if the ECG service had not been available to them.
Over the 12-month period, this equates to nearly 2000 referrals to secondary care prevented by using the telemedical cardiac ECG interpretation service. The first four Trusts have used Broomwell's award-winning cardiac monitoring service on a total of 3406 patients. The service is now deployed across 10 PCTs in Greater Manchester.
According to Broomwell Healthwatch, translated nationally across some 10.500 surgeries, the use of its ECG service could prevent up to 432.000 referrals per annum. Karen Gibbons, Service Improvement Manager for Greater Manchester & Cheshire Cardiac and Stroke Network, stated: "Preventing such a huge percentage of immediate patient referrals to secondary care helps reduce the burden of cardiac care on our local hospitals."
"Providing this sort of expert cardiac diagnosis at a primary care level will not only generate cost and resource savings for the National Health Service (NHS), but will ensure patients benefit from timely and preventative care. The service has great potential and has demonstrated that if used on a national level it could generate huge savings for the NHS every year", she stated.
Joe Rafferty, NHS North West director of Commissioning, stated: "The deployment of Broomwell's service across Greater Manchester has proven to be extremely successful. Using telemedicine to bring essential health services closer to patients in a primary care setting is beneficial to both patients and the NHS, and I think a service such as this has the potential to make a great deal of difference to health services across the United Kingdom."
Following the success of the initial one-year pilot, Broomwell's cardiac monitoring service has now being rolled out to further PCTs in Greater Manchester and is currently in use across 10 PCTs with some 150 surgeries across the region.
The telemedicine service effectively imports ECG expertise into every surgery - via the telephone - and thus enables GPs to make better-informed diagnoses. A key benefit of the service to patients is that it is carried out locally by their GP, removing the need to travel to hospital for diagnosis and wait up to two weeks for results. Practice clinicians carry out ECG readings and transmit the results over the phone, with expert interpretation reported back within seconds.
In a separate 6-month pilot of Broomwell's service in 2007, Lancashire & South Cumbria SHA - now part of NHS North West, demonstrated a significant saving in referrals to A&E, with an estimated potential savings to the NHS of GBP 46 million per year. A report of this pilot and its findings is available on the NHS website. Broomwell believes, that a wider use of the service, to cover coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure patients, could result in savings of around GBP 250 million a year.
BroomWell Healthwatch was established in 2004 to provide telemedical monitoring services to GPs, Walk-in Centres, Community Hospitals and private individuals. Broomwell's solutions include the wristwatch-like MiniClinic, which is linked to the company's monitoring centre by a home base station, 12-lead portable ECGs, and weight control solutions for congestive heart failure. These are supported by Broomwell's 24-hour cardiac monitoring centre, which is staffed by experienced cardiology-trained clinicians giving immediate, expert interpretation of ECGs. More company news is available in the VMW November 2007 article Broomwell's life-saving cardiac monitoring service chosen for pioneering new NHS initiative.