Cardiovascular Research Unit, Edgware General Hospital London, UK

To assess the initial phase of a telecardiology diagnostic service for general practitioners(CPs), we provided 93 CPs in 26 health centres with direct telephone access to a cardiologist, and equipped them with hand-held, automatic standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECC) transmitters for on-line cardiac consultations and ECC interpretation in their daily practice. Clinical details, reason for consultation and the ECC signal were transmitted from the CPs' practices or the patients' homes.
A consultation followed and a full report, including ECC print-out, was then sent to the CP. During an 18-month study period, 2563 consultations were carried out. The system allowed the identification of 479 patients( 19%) with urgent cardiac problems and the remaining 2084 (81%) in whom admission or out patient investigation was unnecessary. Following the study, we distributed a questionnaire asking the CPs to rate the quality, define the use and consider the benefit of the service to their daily practice. We conclude that a telecardiology diagnosis and ECC interpretation service is simple, reliable and efficacious in routine primary care. lt offers instant access to cardiac assessment and supports the decision-making process of CPs. A preliminary cost comparison with a conventional referral indicated that a teleconsultation as substantially cheaper. We expect that the future incorporation of teleechocardiography would expand the scope of telecardiology even further and allow comprehensive cardiology consultation.

Need help with us products?

Feel free to contact us!

Contact us