Broomwell's service enables fast, accurate diagnosis of heart problems by telephone, allowing patients to receive a full 12-lead ECG test at their local GP surgery in minutes. This avoids the inconvenience and expense of patients having to travel to hospitals or diagnostic centres for unnecessary tests. It also relieves pressure on stretched secondary care resources, and means patients don't have to wait up to 21 days for appointments and results.
The service is now handling 1,400 ECG calls per week nationally, with results interpreted by Broomwell's team of expert cardiac clinicians - in turn saving over 1,250 unnecessary hospital referrals every week. The 24-hour, year-round service is being successfully used in GP surgeries, walk-in centres and minor injuries units across almost a large number of PCTs in England, as well as by virtually every PCT in Greater Manchester.
In the past 12 months, Broomwell has provided over 33,000 ECG interpretations in the Greater Manchester area alone. Data from Broomwell's ECG interpretations shows that 90% of symptomatic patients can be managed by their local GP following a diagnosis using the service, without needing to be referred to hospital. This has saved nearly 30,000 hospital referrals in Greater Manchester and, with a single average hospital outpatient appointment costing around £155, this represents a potential saving of over £4.5 million in the Greater Manchester area over the past year alone.
Results from the use of Broomwell's ECG service in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Cardiac and Stroke Network (GMCCSN) over a two-year period across 9 PCTs in the area, showed that use the service prevented approximately 63% of referrals to secondary care.
Karen Gibbons, Service Improvement Manager at the GMCCSN said: "Preventing such a large percentage of patient referrals to secondary care helps reduce the burden on cardiac resources in hospitals. Providing this sort of expert diagnosis in a primary care setting not only generates cost and resource savings for the NHS, but it's also more convenient for patients and ensures they benefit from timely and preventative care."
Joshua Rowe, CEO of Broomwell HealthWatch, said: "Telemedical ECGs are proving to be very popular with the patients who benefit from the convenience and immediacy of diagnosis, and the reassurance this brings, and also with the GPs and practice staff who are able to make a more informed diagnosis.
"Completing over 161,000 successful ECG telemedical calls and doing some 1,400 ECGs per week translates into very significant cost savings for GP surgeries, Consortia and the NHS. By effectively bringing ECG expertise and services into every surgery, by telephone or email, GPs are able to make an immediate diagnosis, significantly reduce hospital referrals and cut out inconvenience, stress, unnecessary travel and waiting times for people. It's a win-win for GPs, the NHS and patients."
A six-month pilot of cardiac telemedicine services conducted by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cardiac Network estimated that the service could generate a further national savings of £46 million if rolled out across England by simply avoiding unnecessary referrals to A&E and Admissions.
Broomwell's telemedical services provide PCTs and GPs with 24-hour expert diagnostic support for 12-lead ECGs and Arrhythmia Monitoring from a team of expert cardiac clinicians, enabling patients to receive quick convenient care, closer to home. Practice nurses carry out ECG recordings at the GP surgery and transmit the results over the phone, where a team of expert cardiac clinicians interpret the ECG trace, give an immediate verbal diagnosis, followed by a written report which is sent to the GP within minutes and which can be filled into the standard electronic patient files.
Broomwell also provides Arrhythmia Monitoring services, including a rapid interpretation service for 24-hour tapes and 8-day loop monitors, as well as a Telemedical Monitoring service for congestive heart failure (CHF), congestive heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The company has also introduced its Arrhythmia Watch, which is designed to be worn by patients with suspected arrhythmia and enables them to capture and record episodes as they occur. This further reduces the need for unnecessary hospital visits for diagnostic tests, saving them stress and inconvenience whilst also saving the NHS a significant amount of money.