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Telecardiology in the Institute of Cardiology in Anin

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Cardio rehabilitation is a significant component of the treatment of patients with heart conditions. As studies indicate, the risk of cardiac death falls by 20% if patients perform special exercises. In Poland, the access to rehabilitation is very limited. Not even one in ten patients is provided with rehabilitation services.

The Institute of Cardiology in Anin decided to tackle this problem. In 2007, it obtained funds for launching TeleInterMed, a remote cardiac rehabilitation programme.  By the end of 2010, over 16,000 patients had been provided with help by 400 healthcare professionals registered on a special telehealth platform.

As the project developed, it became necessary to create a comprehensive IT system for cardiology. Its goal was the facilitation of the process of remote diagnostics and patient data management. Silvermedia was asked to join the project as a technological partner.

SOLUTION APPLIED

The solution developed on the basis of Silvermedic platform offers two cloud-based telehealth services:

  • Remote ECG interpretation system
  • Remote telecardio rehabilitation system

Tele-rehabilitation allows patients to perform exercises at home under constant supervision of a clinician. Patients are given an ECG device which they hold in their hands. It automatically transmits the result to the Institute of Cardiology. Data are sent over the Internet via a mobile phone.

The Silvermedia system supports the telerehabilitation process at every stage. It allows to enter an order into the system, borrow a device, monitor the exercises performed by the patient, collect results by the clinician, print them out and confirm the rehabilitation report.

The other service, remote ECG interpretation, supports clinicians who work outside big cities in ECG interpretation, which speeds up the process of diagnosis and treatment. The Institute of Cardiology has appointed a team of doctors who specialise in the professional interpretation of ECG results.

This is all possible owing to the Silvermedic platform, which allows  analysis of ECG results via a web viewer. The image is sent as an interactive curve. The Silvermedic platform program provides access to several dozen functions which enable function dimensioning and the comparison of multiple examination results. Consequently, it is easier to diagnose particular cardiac diseases.

OUTCOME

The project conducted by the Institute of Cardiology constitutes a breakthrough, both for clinicians and patients.

Patients suffering from heart diseases can now be provided with rehabilitation services which used to be unavailable or tiring (because of a long distance to cover to perform check-ups, problems with the transport of the disabled and the lack of good health care practice of patients). Analyses suggest that the percentage of patients who stop exercising amounts to 20% among those who get rehabilitation in hospitals and only 1% among those who use telerehabilitation services.

When it comes to health care professionals, their work becomes much easier. Clinicians who work outside big cities are provided with instant and remote expert support when describing the results of an examination. Cardiologists from the Institute of Cardiology who specialise in ECG curve diagnostics have access to a programme which enables them to perform a multi-dimensional ECG analysis. The software is intuitive and user-friendly. It enables the use of any method of dimensioning and data comparison. 

Another significant factor is the fact that all the data are collected on a common, medically-certified platform which allows clinicians to process them in any way and consult other specialists. Data can be made available over the Internet, which guarantees a fully flexible system. It is also convenient for the patient, who can be sure that all the examination results are stored and analysed together.