Patients who have certain implantable medical devices, like pacemakers and defibrillators, may benefit from remote device monitoring. This allows your heart specialist to get important information from your device and about your health, even when you are not physically present for a check up. Dr. Ben Glover, an electrophysiologist in Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Program, talked about this advance at the latest Speaker Series event, Rhythm Of My Heart.
All patients who live with devices, like pacemakers or defibrillators to control their heart function, should be monitored regularly, says Dr. Glover. Typically, monitoring is done during your in-clinic appointments. The doctor will place a special programming tool on your chest to check on your heart rhythms and to monitor how the device is functioning overall.
Increasingly, Dr. Glover says some patients may benefit from remote device monitoring. Depending on the type of device you have, the manufacturer of your device and what your doctor decides is the best approach for you is, there may be an opportunity to have your clinical team access information about your health and device no matter where you are. Information may be securely shared over the phone or wirelessly over the internet, depending on your device. Your doctor will discuss the specifics with you.
If you are eligible for remote device monitoring, Dr. Glover says there are many potential benefits, including:
- close monitoring that can lead to earlier interventions
- quicker access to patient health information
- real-time information about heart rate
- increased convenience for patients, especially for those living in remote communities or travelling
- fewer visits to the clinic or emergency department
Dr. Glover says remote device monitoring won’t eliminate all contact with your heart specialist. Importantly, they should always be contacted if you are experiencing unusual symptoms or need to have your device settings updated or changed. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, always call 911 or go directly to your nearest emergency department.
View the full Speaker Series event here: