St. Mary’s Remote Monitoring for Pacemaker Patients Coming Soon to Guelph

May 21st, 2014

St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener is pleased to share that its pilot project to explore the feasibility of large scale remote monitoring for pacemaker patients will begin in Guelph before the end of June, 2014.

“Plans to introduce remote monitoring for St. Mary’s pacemaker patients continue to move along swiftly, and we are optimistic that the first group of patients to do their checkup remotely will begin by mid-June of this year,” said Don Shilton, President of St. Mary’s.

The pilot project, which was announced in October 2013, is led by St. Mary’s in partnership with the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario, the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network, and Medtronic of Canada Ltd.

“The ‘Committee of Three’ and the hundreds of Pacemaker Clients in Guelph are very pleased that St. Mary’s Hospital has moved very quickly to establish a remote monitoring project in Guelph,” said Bill Winegard, one of the ‘committee of three’. “We continue to be surprised that remote monitoring is only now being seriously considered in Canada. It is appropriate that St. Mary’s take the lead, given the fact that we live in the heart of the ‘technology triangle’ (Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph). We are confident that the trials will be successful and that St. Mary’s will lead Ontario to the future.”

The location of the first satellite clinic will be at the YMCA – YWCA of Guelph, 130 Woodland Glen Drive, Guelph, where parking is free. This location was determined in consideration of many factors, such as convenience and accessibility, and in consultation with patients, caregivers and health providers. It also meets Cardiac Care Network of Ontario guidelines for access to cardiac care.

Major milestones and areas of work that have been completed or are ongoing as of this time include:

  • Interviewing many patients regarding their experience and needs. Patient engagement activities will continue throughout the summer months.
  • Establishing the participation criteria and screening methodology used to identify patients who are eligible to receive the service.
  • Geo-mapping the patient population and identifying potential remote monitoring sites.
  • Engaging pacemaker clinic staff at St. Mary’s in activities such as workflow mapping and service design to ensure that the service is successfully integrated into current processes.
  • Collecting baseline information used to evaluate key performance indicators such as the patient experience and resource use.
  • Evaluating and addressing information technology requirements. A privacy impact assessment has been conducted and will be ongoing. Staff will receive additional privacy training prior to the service launch.

“Through St. Mary’s cardiac care team, residents of Waterloo Wellington will soon have access to this ‘first-in-Ontario’ solution, creating more options and flexibility for local high quality care,” says Bruce Lauckner, Chief Executive Officer, Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. “We look forward to seeing remote pacemaker monitoring become a reality, and we congratulate the team on this accomplishment.”

Upfront planning for a pilot project of this scope requires a significant amount of time, resources, effort and stakeholder engagement to ensure patient requirements are in place that align with best practices.

“Until now, remote pacemaker monitoring had only been explored in Canada by one other hospital, and St. Mary’s is the first to do so in Ontario, so there is no established model for a pilot such as this,” continued Mr. Shilton. “We are very excited about the potential of this project, which if successful, will help reduce travel while maintaining access to the convenient and innovative health care options offered by specially trained physicians and clinical support staff at our Regional Cardiac Care Centre.”

Screening of patients who meet the eligibility requirements is underway and will continue on a rolling basis throughout the summer. Eligible patients will be contacted by phone by an individual from St. Mary’s to be invited to participate in this pilot project. Education sessions will be offered prior to the session and only patients who provide informed consent to the transmission of their data may take part.

While current remote monitoring technology won’t completely replace the need to visit the hospital, it has the potential to reduce the number of required visits for eligible patients. St. Mary’s is the Regional Cardiac Care Centre for the Waterloo-Wellington region and beyond and is staffed by skilled medical personnel and care providers that are specially trained in cardiac care. This pilot project will abide by Canadian Cardiovascular Society and Cardiac Care Network of Ontario guidelines, and evidence based research that recommends hospitals integrate remote monitoring capabilities into their routine functions.

Evaluation criteria will measure and monitor the success of the first pilot site, and this data will help to formulate the feasibility of a broader roll out of Medtronic Carelink Express® monitor, including more patients and remote monitoring systems from other pacemaker companies. If the pilot proves to be successful, it is hoped that this model will be expanded to additional locations not only across the WWLHIN, but also become current practice for other health care facilities in Ontario.

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Media Contact:

Angela Volpe
Manager, Communications
St. Mary’s General Hospital
Office: 519-749-6412
Mobile: 226-339-9147
Email: avolpe@smgh.ca