How does a cardiac monitoring service work?
Cardiac monitoring providers offer physicians a way to measure a patient’s heart rhythm over a defined period of time. It is considered standard practice in diagnosing cardiac arrhythmias and is also helpful in evaluating and managing medications and their effect on a patient’s condition.
Many cardiology practices choose to partner with a monitoring service center that provides equipment, supplies, and reviews EKG data. These companies actively monitor patients that are enrolled in the service and report the results to the doctor for a diagnosis. Patients enrolled in the service are typically experiencing palpitations, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, syncope, or a host of other heart rhythm abnormalities
When a patient is wearing a mobile cardiac telemetry device, the monitoring service continuously receives and observes the patient’s electrocardiogram. If any abnormality presents itself, the monitoring clinician will alert the physician in accordance with the signed notification criteria. A signed notification criteria is a physician-signed notification statement that details the type and level of irregularity and the protocol used to address it.
When a patient has an episode that meets the notification criteria, whether the patient records it or it is automatically recorded via the auto trigger feature of the device, a clinician immediately processes the information and contacts the physician for further instruction. Those further instructions may include heading to the emergency room, the doctor’s office, or a simple adjustment to the patient’s medication.
Holter monitors typically store recorded electrocardiogram data within the device and are not evaluated until the prescribed wear-time has expired. Patients return the Holter monitor to the clinic or the doctor’s office, where the information is downloaded to a secure server, analyzed, interpreted by the monitoring service and reported back to the physician for the diagnosis.
As with event monitoring, if at any point an arrhythmia is identified, the physician is notified. However, a Holter monitor’s activity has already occurred and is being evaluated after the fact, while an event monitor’s activity is currently happening and can be addressed without delay.