Checking patients with pacemakers or defibrillators normally requires regular clinic visits. But computer technology and the internet allow continuous remote monitoring of heart rhythms, while patients remain at home.
Pacemaker function and integrity can now be readily monitored over the internet. As a result patients may not need to attend clinic as often, or are called in early for treatment if an abnormality is detected. Such remote monitoring systems are now considered the ‘standard of care’ in the management of patients with heart rhythm disorders and pacemakers.
The remote devices database established in the cardiac rhythm management unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in 2009 was one of the first to be established in Australia, and continues to provide valuable insights into the function and safety of pacemakers. The information gathered from the centre’s study and overseas has confirmed the value of remote monitoring of patients with implanted devices.
Further research will define the best approach to use this technology to enhance care and improve cost effectiveness. Collaboration between Royal North Shore Hospital and other major hospitals using this technology is being proposed. Trialling of smart phone technology to monitor heart function will also help explore ways in which current technology can improve cardiac care.
Leading the project is Dr Edward Barin, a specialist in arrhythmias and cardiac devices.
Project title: Remote rhythm monitoring – CRM Research Unit
Investigators: Dr Edward Barin, Dr Peter Leijdekkers, Professor Valerie Gay.
Funded since: 2008