What Is The Role Of EKG Testing In Primary Care
Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) tests play a critical role in assessing acute patient care following a heart event, or emergency medical procedure for cardiac patients. Primary care physicians may also identify the need to routinely monitor at-risk cardiac patients with EKG’s. Elective EKG testing in a primary care doctor’s office can also uncover pre-existing conditions, identify heart muscle irregularities, and even support a patient’s return to regular activities.
EKG diagnostics display the regular electrical activity of the heart and serve as a measure of how the heart is functioning. The 12-lead EKG used in health care settings has been the standard test in cardiac care for over a hundred years, providing a much more comprehensive and accurate read compared to 1,3, and 6 lead configurations. Each of the 12 sensors are attached to the chest and limbs by using sticky patches that connect wires to a monitor. The strength of the signals sent by the heart between the leads indicate irregularities. These measurements are dependent on which lead shows an abnormal reading. Both a “resting” EKG and an “exercise” EKG are performed under supervision usually, on-site. A Holter monitor is a portable EKG device that continuously records the heart’s electrical activity in a 24 to 48-hour period, outside of a clinical setting. However, the Holter monitor must be worn continuously for the duration of the recording, causing disruption to patient’s lives and leading to increased patient dissatisfaction with healthcare.
SmartHeart® is a portable 12-lead EKG technology that allows for convenient monitoring from home, by using a quick release belt that eliminates the need for shaving, uncomfortable adhesives, and multiple wires. With a self-guided app, patients and providers alike can perform a 12-lead EKG in as little as 30 seconds. Once an EKG is performed, SmartHeart® instantly sends the report to the provider for review in the SmartHeart® app and web platform. Providers can even review and compare previous results within the platform, eliminating many unnecessary office vists. Reducing the stress of additional appointments for maintenance EKG readings supports better patient health.
Incorporating at-home care supports also physician’s already over-crowded schedules. A recent report projected that physician burnout will result in a “shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians within 12 years, according to The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2019 to 2034 (PDF), a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).” SmartHeart®’s time-saving sessions reduce unnecessary office visits and provide efficient communication through the SmartHeart® app. Staffing shortages have contributed to the burden of maintaining care, and despite tremendous need, fewer medical programs are graduating doctors and other healthcare professionals due to the perception of stress within the industry.
In many rural communities, recent medical center and hospital closures increased the need for medical services and cardiac care at every level. Patients may no longer have easy access to both their primary care doctor and their cardiac specialist. Bringing the doctor into the patient’s home through the prescription of SmartHeart® eliminates the hurdle of long trips to a distant office for patients in rural areas.
As the patient population increases, so does our overall longevity. Paired with a declining rate of healthcare workers, the need for efficient appointments and testing has never been greater. A new approach in delivering care, like telemedicine, paves the way for exceptional quality of care with new technology like SmartHeart®®. Remote EKG testing presents an exciting opportunity to assess more patients, in real-time, with minimal stress
Increased public interest in telehealth visits and acceptance of zoom appointments make it easier to embrace the innovative SmartHeart® approach for at-home EKG tests. Virtual visits are shifting the paradigm from the “tyranny of office visits,” to an effective, streamlined, and cost efficient model of care.
SmartHeart® EKG saves time not only through virtual appointments, but in ease of use. With little to no training, patients can download the app and get started effortlessly. Once connected, these virtual appointments provide access to results in as little as 30 seconds.
The portability of the SmartHeart® EKG saves space in-office, and is even easier to take home as a prescription. 12 Lead EKG machines take significantly more space than the compact design of the SmartHeart® device, and use far more paper!
Routine monitoring using SmartHeart® reduces the time cardiac patients spend in the ER, reduces wait times for all ER visitors, and reduces physician’s hours administering an in-office EKG. According to a study of routine admissions for cardiac patient’s EKG’s, “The negative implications of unwarranted EKGs are particularly problematic given that they provide little clinical value. The same study found cardiac event rates of less than 1% for both members of the group that received EKG testing and those who did not. The typical cost for performing and interpreting an EKG is $100; given the generally brief time it takes to perform and interpret an EKG, this test is relatively expensive and the frequency of these common tests leads to accumulated costs. Only 1% of EKGs on patients without a clinically evident cardiac abnormality provide useful information, costing $6,700 per EKG abnormality, with only approximately one in 400 patients (0.26%) receiving lasting benefit from the EKG.”
With SmartHeart® providers can avoid the usual costs associated with unnecessary admissions and readmissions for cardiac care. As a portable 12-lead EKG technology, SmartHeart® opens the door for providers to increase care offerings to patients by providing reliable at-home cardiac care for patients, increasing profit compared to traditional EKGs and increasing patient satisfaction with the practice.
To learn more about the capabilities of SmartHeart®, contact us today for a full demo of the leading portable 12-lead ECG technology on the market.