Thousands of British Columbians live with a cardiac implantable electronic device: a cardiac pacemaker, implantable cardio defibrillator or cardiac resynchronization therapy device. These devices monitor and regulate abnormal heart rhythms. After implantation, patients require ongoing device surveillance, as well as battery changes every five to seven years. While every health authority has a hospital-based device clinic, visits can be difficult for patients, especially those traveling from rural or remote locations.
Remote monitoring is an internet-based system that enables the device clinic team to monitor and follow up with patients from afar, enabling improved clinic efficiencies and workflow, cost-savings and increased patient safety and satisfaction. This technology has been trialed in some BC health authorities, but a rollout across all health authorities requires provincial planning and development of standard policies, procedures and patient information, along with adequate infrastructure and resources at the sites, and appropriate reimbursement policies for physicians.
We are working to standardize guidelines for device follow-up care in BC. Part of this will include a process for the consistent and standardized use of remote monitoring for follow-up and management of appropriate patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices.