Why One U.K. Hospital System Changed the Way They Monitor Heart Valve Disease

2015-08-20
 

Doctors using cardiology workflow solutions to benefit patients. A high rate of cardiovascular disease putting pressure on cardiology services: does that sound familiar? Yes, this is the case in the US — it’s also true in the UK. Specifically, at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH), which provides care to more than 2.5 million Nottingham residents and specialist services to between 3 million and 4 million people from neighboring counties.

NUH typically performs around 16,000 echocardiograms and 600 stress echocardiograms each year, and the numbers are steadily increasing, according to Dr. Michael Sosin, consultant cardiologist.

To cope with the volume, NUH is changing the way it monitors patients who have heart valve disease but are not currently showing any symptoms. These patients are referred by their cardiologist to a weekly clinic at Nottingham City Hospital where they are seen by a cardiac physiologist. The clinician conducts an ultrasound scan and asks a series of questions about the patient’s current condition.

If there have been no changes since the last visit, the patient is scheduled for a return visit in 12 months or 24 months, depending on their condition. If there is a significant change in condition or echocardiogram, the patient is seen by a physician for immediate investigation.

“The clinic allows us to monitor patients more quickly and efficiently, and reduces the number of unnecessary visits patient need to make to a hospital,” says Sosin. “Moreover, it is run in addition to existing echocardiographic services and, as a result, staff can spend more time with each of our patients.” The clinic uses McKesson Cardiology™ CVIS to store, report and share echocardiogram images.

The Valve Clinic has created several significant benefits:

  1. Many patients only need to visit the hospital once, and anxieties related to waiting for a follow-up appointment are eliminated.
  2. Cardiologists are only required to see patients who have developed symptoms or need urgent care, expanding the clinic’s capacity.
  3. Clinicians and admins have seen a reduction in the volume of clinical correspondence.

“Within just a few months, the redesigned pathway has improved the hospital experience by halving the number of hospital visits for many cardiology patients,” notes Sosin. “What’s more, it’s significantly relieved the strain on our cardiology clinic through a reduction in the requirement for follow-up appointments.”

He adds that the introduction of clinical models like this one are vital to the UK’s National Health Service’s efforts to develop patient-centered services that maximize NHS resources.

If you are in the UK, be sure to attend the ESC Congress 29, August – 2, September in Excel, London and ask to see McKesson cardiology solutions at stand B275 or visit our UK website for more information about cardiology workflow solutions.

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