por Lynn Shapiro
, Writer | March 17, 2009
Physicians should be able to access their cardiac patients' implantable devices remotely but cannot, since most European Union governments won't pay for the innovation, said Eucomed officials, speaking at a recent conference for health officials in Prague.
Markus Siebert, Chair of Eucomed's cardiac rhythm management telemonitoring group, urged government officials at the conference to "embrace the technology."
Dr. Siebert said that remote device monitoring is as safe and as clinically effective as in-office monitoring. Siebert noted that the literature shows telemedicine reduces physicians' time up to 70 percent and costs of patient visits up to 60 percent. What's more, studies show that heart failure patients who are closely monitored by their doctors on a remote basis are 20 percent less likely to be admitted to a hospital than those patients who are not monitored remotely, Dr. Siebert said.
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Joseph Brugada, President of the European Heart Rhythm Association, told health care officials at the conference that with "remote and continuous implantable device checks, immediate recognition of device and patient-related problems lead to a far better quality of life. Continuous control of the device will permit detection of possible device dysfunction at a very early stage which allows us to take immediate action, thus improving patient safety significantly."
Eucomed is the medical technology industry group representing the EU. Members include 4,500 designers, manufacturers and suppliers of medical technology. Small and medium-sized companies make up more than 80 percent. of this sector. Eucomed's mission is to improve patient and clinician access to innovative and reliable medical technology.