Broomwell's life-saving cardiac telemedicine solution wins prestigious NHS award

Manchester 06 May 2008The Lancashire and South Cumbria (LSC) Cardiac Network has won the British National Health Service (NHS) North West Health and Social Care award as a result of its deployment of Broomwell's life-saving telemedical ECG monitoring service. The award was won for the category Innovative Information & Communication Technology, which recognises the use of pioneering solutions of information to improve the delivery of services for patients, service users or carers.

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In partnership with the Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority the LSC Cardiac Network carried out a 12-month pilot of Broomwell's telemedical monitoring services in Cumbria and Lancashire. The pilot involved 15 GP practices and two NHS walk-in centres, which were recruited by the LSC Cardiac Network.

The report from the pilot has demonstrated Broomwell's advanced monitoring service could save 90.000 A&E visits and 45.000 hospital admissions and has also estimated the minimum savings to the NHS from use of telemedical ECG tests at GBP 46 million per year, simply by cutting unnecessary hospital admissions and A&E visits for symptoms of chest pain.

The pilot also showed that easy access to ECG tests through this technology can save hundreds of lives each year by early detection of heart problems, before irreversible heart damage is done. Data from the pilot showed 82 percent of patients receiving ECGs did not need to go to hospital - neither A&E nor outpatients - following the test, giving rapid reassurance, and reducing stress and anxiety.

Joe Rafferty, NHS North West director of commissioning and strategy, stated: "The pilot has clearly demonstrated the benefits telemedicine can bring to both patients and the NHS. The official pilot report indicates high patient satisfaction and the feedback from the surgeries is also extremely positive. Winning this award confirms the effectiveness of this type of service and if used on a national level it could generate huge savings for the NHS."

The telemedical ECG service has also proven to be successful during a 12-month trial across five PCTs (53 surgeries) in Greater Manchester supervised by the Greater Manchester and Cheshire (GMC) Cardiac Network. In the official GMC report GPs said that 63,7 percent of patients would have been referred to hospital if the telemedical ECG service had not been available to them. Over the 12-month period, this equates to nearly 2377 referrals to secondary care prevented by using the service, and the calculated cost savings within this pilot amounted to GBP 262.927. The service is now deployed across 10 PCTs in Greater Manchester.

Joshua Rowe, Chairman for Broomwell Healthwatch believes far larger savings are easily achievable. He stated: "Based on the data from the two pilots the telemedical ECG service, if translated nationally across some 10.500 surgeries, would generate savings of around GBP 98.000.000 per annum. "As well as saving millions for the NHS this service enhances patient convenience and empowers them with more choice. It is a real win-win for everyone."

Broomwell's cardiac monitoring service provides non-specialist GPs with expert cardiac diagnostic support. Practice nurses carry out ECG readings and the results are transmitted as a sound signal by telephone to Broomwell's 24 hour monitoring centre in Manchester, whose staff provide an immediate verbal evaluation, followed by a written report, e-mailed back to the surgery in minutes.

The Broomwell telemedical service is now being operated by virtually all of the PCTs in the Greater Manchester region, PCTs in Cumbria and Lancashire, Somerset PCT, Southampton PCT, HM prisons and numerous other health screening organisations.

The company 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 April 2008 article Broomwell's cardiac telemedicine service proven to prevent hospital admissions in year-long study.


Leslie Versweyveld

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