Director of Strategic Marketing EMEA, iRhythm Technologies Ltd
The NHS is embracing proven, innovative technologies to continuously monitor patients for cardiovascular conditions within their own homes.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects about 1.5million people in the UK and causes a fivefold increased risk of stroke, which can be devastating for patients and creates a significant financial impact on healthcare systems. New technologies are needed that allow physicians to diagnose arrhythmias more quickly and begin appropriate medical intervention sooner to avoid more serious downstream medical events.
A new wireless biosensor device, attached to a patient’s chest to continuously collect ECG (electrocardiogram) data, is currently being evaluated for wider NHS use. The solution focuses on heart rhythm disorders, such as AF and other arrhythmias. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse results.
With COVID-19 restrictions meaning fewer face-to-face consultations, remote monitoring is already proving its value by continuing the monitoring and assessment of patients at home.
ECG analysed by AI
Director of Strategic Marketing at iRhythm Technologies, Glyn Barnes says: “If a patient needs an ECG, their consultant contacts us and we post the device directly to that patient. Once fitted, the biosensor collects ECG data continuously for up to 14 days capturing any arrhythmias that may occur. When it is sent back, we upload it to the AI algorithm which then analyses up to 336 hours of continuous ECG.
“That can take a human ECG technician a significant amount of time to review, but the AI algorithm does it in a matter of minutes.
“This produces a provisional result for our own technicians to compose a final written report, which is then uploaded to a web-based portal for the prescribing clinician to review.”
This is an example of how the NHS is embracing new types of technologies so patients can be seen more efficiently, be diagnosed accurately and receive therapy much quicker.
Through NHSX – iRhythm has been awarded funding to supply the Zio ECG service to trusts for real-world evaluation. This has the potential to inform commissioning decisions and wider adoption of Zio in the NHS.
“With 98% patient compliance and a very high level of accuracy, the Zio service is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence). It also minimises the need for repeat testing, saving time for healthcare professionals and helping to reduce waiting lists whilst also being cost-effective for the NHS”, says Barnes.
“The algorithm has been trained to accurately identify 10 different arrhythmias and published papers show that its accuracy matches that of cardiologists in making analyses,” he adds.
“This is an example of how the NHS is embracing new types of technologies so patients can be seen more efficiently, be diagnosed accurately and receive therapy much quicker.”