May 16, 2018

Digital ECG

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The $500,000 regional digital cardiology project between Alpine Health and Northeast Health Wangaratta, is underway speeding up diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions for remote patients.

Photo – R to L: Education session at Mt Beauty Hospital – Olivia Stapleton (Associate Nurse Unit Manager Mt Beauty, Alpine Health), Dr Jeff Robinson (GP and Director of Medical Services Alpine Health), and Dianne James (Phillips Product Specialist)

 

The ‘Hume Algorithm’ was introduced by Alpine Health to ensure a consistent guideline for the early and timely management of patients with chest pains.

 

Building on this award-winning work with significant financial support in the form of $250,000 donated by the Bright Hospital Op Shop and matched by the Department of Health and Human Services, Alpine Health has been working in collaboration with Northeast Health Wangaratta to bring to the Alpine Shire communities further improvements in chest pain management.  This time in the form of a digital ECG (electrocardiogram).

 

Nurses and On Call GPs can facilitate quicker decision making and initiate the care required. Each site of Alpine Health now has a digital ECG machine that links up with clinicians to manage chest pain.


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Benefits of a digital ECG

  • Increased response times in the management of chest pain by the teams at Alpine Health with immediate transfer of the ECG (heart waves/tracing) clinical information directly to the GPs on call and medical specialists at Northeast Health Wangaratta via uploading to the cloud and apps.
  • Reduces variations to ensure the right treatment at a critical point of the patient’s journey when presenting with chest pain.
  • Provides earlier referral to regional and tertiary health facilities.

 

Mr. Lyndon Seys, CEO of Alpine Health said “The Hume Region has a higher rate of heart disease compared to other rural regions. Rates of heart attack in the Alpine Shire are approximately double that of some metropolitan areas. In 2017, the combined Alpine Health Urgent Care sites had an average of 4 episodes of chest pain per week. This digital cardiology project will speed up diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions for local people where they live.”

 

Ambulance Victoria urges people experiencing chest pain or chest tightness to call Triple Zero (000) immediately, and not to wait. People sometimes hesitate to call Triple Zero (000) because they are not sure if the situation qualifies as an emergency. If in doubt, always call Triple Zero (000). Call takers are trained to help you and will direct you to the appropriate assistance.

 

Alpine Health would like to thank the Bright Hospital Op Shop for their generous donation and the following people for their efforts in getting this program up and running; Margaret Bennett, CEO at NHW for working in collaboration to facilitate and host the hub, Olivia Stapleton ANUM Bright, Alpine Health nursing staff - Bright, Dr Jeffrey Robinson (Medical Director, Alpine Health), and external medical specialists with special mention to Mark Ashcroft (Former Health Services Manager – Bright and current CEO of Beechworth Health Service), Dr Philip Tideman, (Director, Integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network Country Health, South Australia) , and Associate Professor Leslie Bolitho, (Consultant Physician, AM MBBS FRACP FACRRM FACP FRCP MAICD).