When Minutes Matter

Feb 03, 2014 at 04:31 pm by Staff

AirStrip Technology Provides Critical Data in a HeartbeatTime is muscle.When someone experiences a major cardiac event, every second counts. Getting data into the right hands in a timely manner can literally be the difference between life and death. Even before the new TriStar Centennial Heart and Vascular Center opened in February 2012, the leadership was already focused on finding sophisticated technologies to enhance care delivery, save valuable time and minimize heart damage. COO Jim Drumwright said AirStrip Cardiology is one of the solutions Centennial added to its armamentarium.“We were early adopters of the technology,” Drumwright said. “We saw an opportunity to improve the care we provide our patients and make our cardiologists more efficient.”A mobile health application, AirStrip Cardiology allows physicians to remotely monitor a patient’s heartbeat by viewing a live electrocardiogram (ECG) with diagnostic imaging clarity. Previously, paramedics would obtain a 12-lead ECG for patients with symptoms of acute myocardial infarction and then send the information to the hospital Emergency Department via fax or PDF. However, quality was often degraded in transmission. If the images then had to be faxed from the ED to a cardiologist for review, visual clarity suffered even more.Explaining the benefits of the technology, Todd Dorfman, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Centennial Heart, said, “When a patient has a heart attack, the goal is to restore blood supply to the heart within 90 minutes. The TriStar hospitals are the only hospitals in the state that have AirStrip technology. It reduces door-to-balloon time by probably 10, maybe 15, minutes.” Dorfman noted that being able to see the ECG data in real time allows him to activate the cath lab whether he’s in his office or at home. The sooner that blood supply is restored, he said, the less damage there is to the heart and the less likely the patient is to face recurrent heart failure.Looking at year-end 2013 data, Drumwright said, “In December, our 12-month average for door-to-balloon was under 50 minutes, which is well below the national standard. It’s technology like this that allows us to bring better care quicker to the patient.”With AirStrip, emergency responders with the capability of transmitting 12-lead ECGs can get detailed images to providers from the field. Similarly, an ED physician can quickly consult with a cardiologist whether the specialist is onsite or not.“AirStrip allows us to digitize that image and get it into the hands of the cardiologist on his iPhone or iPad. It’s a diagnostic quality image no matter where he or she is,” Drumwright said. “It’s like having a cardiologist in the ED or the ambulance with the patient when they’re not really there,” he continued. “We’re able to start that treatment sooner.”It also can help ensure treatment occurs in the correct setting. Drumwright noted a patient presenting at the ED with an acute AFib episode would typically be admitted by an emergency medicine physician and a consult with an electrophysiologist scheduled for the next day. AirStrip allows the EP to see what is happening with the patient and assess the severity to avoid unnecessary admissions.While emergency care is one major use for the technology, Drumwright said it has a number of other applications, as well. “We use it frequently for consults,” he noted. AirStrip is used to alert physicians of changes among cardiac inpatients. Since the app stores the tracings, a physician is able to compare images and alter treatment plans if warranted.Already used extensively, Drumwright said Centennial Medical Center plans to grow with the technology. Future applications, such as remote hemodynamic monitoring, will be adopted as the company rolls out new iterations. In addition to Centennial, TriStar Skyline and TriStar Summit also use AirStrip Cardiology.
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