Researchers today reported fewer hospitalizations, shorter hospital stays and significantly lower costs for patients whose cardiac rhythm management device are equipped with remote monitoring capabilities. The results were presented at the Heart Rhythm Society’s annual meeting in Boston.
The study, performed over 5 years, collected data from more than 90,000 patients with pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices. Remote monitoring was associated with an 18% reduction in hospitalizations, $3,700 lower cost per patient-year and an average stay 2.8 days shorter than patients that weren’t monitored remotely.
"Based upon our data, for every 100,000 patient-years, remote monitoring is associated with 9,810 fewer hospitalizations, 119,000 fewer days in hospitals and more than $370 million in lower hospitalization costs. These numbers are substantial when one considers that there may be 4 million Americans with implanted electronic devices. Since fewer than half of patients in a large U.S. cohort are using remote monitoring, this represents as significant opportunity for quality improvement in the U.S. healthcare system," Dr, Jonathan Piccini of Duke University said.
The study, the 1st of its kind, covered all vendors and specifications for remote monitoring and CRM devices, Piccini said.
The news prompted the Heart Rhythm Society to issue a new "expert consensus statement" recommending that remote cardiac monitoring become the standard of care for CRM patients.
"Recent data surrounding remote monitoring technologies have been important to advancing the understanding of the benefits these systems provide," Dr. Niraj Varma of the Cleveland Clinic said in prepared remarks. "The updated recommendations announced recently by the Heart Rhythm Society reflect the findings from these important studies and highlight the importance of using remote monitoring systems to improve the consistency of follow-up care for patients. We will continue to work with industry to further reinforce how utilization of the remote monitoring systems can improve clinical outcomes for patients around the world."
Despite the positive outcomes, less than half of the individuals in the study used remote monitoring. Piccini said that in European studies, that number was as high as 70%, and that the reasons for the low use in the U.S. required further investigation. The low uptake in the U.S. might be due to the prevalence of mobile phones (most remote cardiac monitoring requires a land-line telephone), added Dr. Michael Gold of the University of South Carolina Medical School.
Piccini also said that, although patients who seek out remote monitoring may be more health-minded, and therefore in the hospital less, the findings resounded across all patient types and were echoed in other studies showing significant benefits to those who utilize remote monitoring.