Would You Want To See Real-Time Data from Your Implantable Pacemaker?

We’ve spotted an interesting article, written by David Lee Scher, MD former Cardiac Electrophysiologist and now Director at DLS HEALTHCARE CONSULTING, LLC, and uniquely concentrating in mobile health technology clinical research design and implementation. In his article, which can be found here he draws attention to American patients’ rights to access their own electronic health data and how he believes this is being denied them at the present time, expounding that this is a missed opportunity. His argument is that “there is much more data furnished by these devices than could be digested or needed by the average patient.  However, a patient portal with fundamental information is sorely needed for patients and caregivers to increase their engagement.”

He gives the example that “heart rate settings of the device coupled with  a green light/red light indicator of device system function and rhythm status would be a welcomed and in most cases adequate provision.”

Access to one’s own heart function data, increasingly the subject of remote monitoring via implantable devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators, he argues is not only a right, but also a source of comfort for the patient. His feelings are that “an educated patient is the best kind.  Let’s get patients with implantable cardiac devices out of the dark, decreasing ignorance, anxiety, and fostering better adherence and doctor-patient relationships.”

We say

Actually we don’t know the full extent to which data from such implantable devices is being monitored and used either remotely or in the clinic in Europe, so perhaps our EU cardiology audience could tell us.

On the face of it this would seem to be a progressive move, for all the reasons Dr Scher gives. Having said that, we’re slightly sitting on the fence. Would not some patients be more stressed by monitoring their key performance indicators than others? Might some get unhealthily obsessed to the extent that unless extremely well-informed they make some wrong lifestyle calls in the quest to keep atop their numbers. Perhaps the answer would be to provide the option but have the clinician counsel the patient about the positive and negative aspects, and rather than have real-time access, how about periodic reporting?

Source: The Digital Health Corner,  davidleescher.com

By Nick Woods

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