The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to stretch facility resources as they focus efforts on their coronavirus response. However, other health services need to continue to operate including cardiac services to ensure proper health care for patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite recommendations to remain at-home, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one cause of death worldwide, and concerns about heart health cannot be ignored.
Information regarding the effects that coronavirus can have on the heart continues to be updated and further highlights the importance of maintaining cardiac health, as well as remaining vigilant with social distancing, and, if need be, self-isolation. A recent clinical bulletin released by the American College of Cardiology shows that patients with an underlying cardiovascular disease are considered high-risk if they contract coronavirus, with a 10.5% mortality rate for patients with cardiovascular disease that contract coronavirus. Similarly, the European Heart Journal, run by the European Society of Cardiology, has released a medical paper looking at the acute and long-term implications of the coronavirus. The ESC has also developed a patient resource to allow health professionals to provide relevant information about the coronavirus to their patients.
To meet the demands of patients and ensure continuity of care, telehealth is becoming increasingly used as both patients and health professionals seek to follow social distancing measures, as well as medical insurance and rebate providers change their coverage policies to incorporate telehealth for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Globally, countries are recognising the need for increased access to telehealth, and are updating their health coverage policies to match, including in both Australia and the US.
CardioScan’s Medical Director, Dr Harry Mond has continued to treat his patients remotely, with patients preferring to contact him via phone. He says it’s important for patients to maintain their cardiac health, and for health professionals to continue to deliver the same level of service patients expect during the current coronavirus pandemic. “Skype and phone consultations will be big. I have checked all my patients for the next three months and saw only patients with the most urgent needs last week. We are finding that the best way to monitor cardiac health is to stay indoors and away from people, so remote consultations can assist with that.”
One way that cardiac services can continue to deliver the same standard of service as normal is using a mailout service. A mailout service allows cardiac services to send out their devices to patients, so they can undergo heart studies from the safety of their own homes. CardioScan UK is currently running a mailout service for interested facilities, allowing them to send out Holter monitor devices to patients and continuing to conduct heart studies, without requiring patients to come into clinics. CardioScan’s clinical team is still working to analyse 500k+ heart studies per year, so your patients will still be able to have any arrhythmias detected.
If you’re a health professional that is providing cardiac services to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, and want to provide them more information, then CardioScan has put together a series of patient fact sheets which you can access here.