St Jude Medical announced the launch of its Merlin.net Patient Care Network (PCN) version 5.0. The Merlin.net network is a telehealth, or remote monitoring, system that captures information about heart rhythms, device therapy and device performance, from a patient’s implantable cardiac device and allows the data to be sent directly to a clinic or hospital’s records. This update features enhancements to the Internet-based repository of patient and implantable device data that provide physicians easier access to important alerts.
One new feature is the Mobile DirectAlerts notification, which is a secure physician notification system for important patient and device alerts. A physician-designated alert is sent automatically to a physician’s mobile device (iPhone, Android, iPad and Blackberry) when a patient has an alert-triggering event. Once a physician receives the alert, he or she can quickly link directly to the patient’s alert transmission, creating faster and more convenient access to pertinent patient reports when physicians are out of the office.
“This mobile device technology allows physicians like me to access relevant patient information in a quick, timely and secure manner. This can include contact details, alert triggers and electrocardiograms. This is a great example of how innovative thinking combined with existing telecommunications technology can help the physician stay close to the patient when this is most needed,” said Francis D Murgatroyd, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at King’s College Hospital, London, UK.
The new software update also adds the Auto EHRDirect Export feature, an automated connection from the Merlin.net PCN directly to the clinic or hospital’s electronic health record (EHR) system. The EHRDirect Export capability uses the IDCO profile (Implantable Device Cardiac Observation), an industry standard for the transfer of information from an interrogated implantable cardiac device to information management systems.
Initial results from a recent Department of Health (DH) study indicate that telehealth technologies have the ability to reduce mortality, the need for admissions to the hospital, and the amount of days in the hospital. The study, which followed more than 3,000 patients with conditions such as heart failure and diabetes, asked the question “Does the use of technology as a remote intervention make a difference?” Early indications demonstrate that it does; in addition to a mortality rate reduction of almost 45%, emergency hospital admissions could also be reduced by 20% and bed days by 14%.
“We designed the Merlin.net PCN updates to make patient and device data as accessible and convenient as possible for physicians managing patients with complex cardiac conditions such as heart failure,” said Paul Turner, vice president of UK, Ireland, Canada Middle East and South Africa, St Jude Medical. “Findings in the recent DH study indicate that more than three million people in the UK can benefit from telehealth. We are very pleased to play our part in offering our own remote care solution, and delivering our patient-benefitting technologies throughout the UK.”