February 21st, 2020
St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre in Kitchener is sharing its expertise to support care providers in small community hospitals and limit travel for patients who need a common cardiac test called an echocardiogram.
Dr. Heather Warren, Director of Echocardiography at St. Mary’s, said some patients requiring these studies are unwell, or elderly, with multiple health issues. “Often, they no longer drive. Travelling an hour to another hospital to have these studies performed can be a burden, both on the patients and their family or caregivers who provide transportation.”
The images are viewed by a Cardiologist at St. Mary’s, and the report sent back with recommendations, to the referring physician.
For patient Dennis Nuhn the ease of travelling 10 minutes to have two echocardiograms in Listowel, rather than driving to Kitchener, was much appreciated. “We have a busy dental practice in Palmerston and patients book appointments months ahead. I don’t want to inconvenience my patients, so being out of the office for half a day to travel to Kitchener is not ideal,” said Dr. Nuhn. “This partnership is a boon for our hospital and our community.”
Depending on the findings of echo testing, a patient’s condition may be manageable with medication. For patients awaiting cardiac surgery, the images obtained in Listowel, can be viewed together by their care team at St. Mary’s, including Cardiologists and Cardiac Surgeons, to ensure optimal treatment plans are made.
Dr. Rob Annis, a Listowel family physician, considers the cardiac program at St. Mary’s a “shining star” and appreciates the close relationship that the Listowel physicians and St. Mary’s cardiologists have built.
“The echo program developed by the Cardiologists at St Mary’s is a great forward thinking example of where Ontario’s health care is headed: technology-enabled high quality, safe care that is more convenient for the patient.”