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Medtronic's Carelink Network Remote Monitoring Reduces Time to Clinical Decision: Medical Trials

By Raja Singh Chaudhary, TMCnet Contributor
March 16, 2010

Medtronic, Inc., a provider of solutions for in medical technology that help millions of people around the globe in alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life, has announced that according to the results from the CONNECT trials, its Medtronic CareLink Network has shown a significant reduction in the median time to clinical decision for cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillator, or “CRT-D,” and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or “ICD,” patients when monitored remotely, in comparison with the standard in-office follow-up. 

The Medtronic CareLink Network is a remote monitoring service for implantable cardiac device patients, and serves more than 4,000 clinics and 450,000 patients across 30 countries. The service was introduced in the year 2002, and over two million patient data transmissions have been registered by the network as yet. 

During the “Clinical Evaluation of Remote Notification to Reduce Time to Clinical Decision,” or the CONNECT trial, 1,997 patients implanted with an ICD with or without CRT capabilities had been randomized from 136 sites in the United States to remote monitoring versus standard in-office care. 

And, during the study, the time from clinical event to clinical decision in response to the event, as well as the associated impact on health care utilization, such as hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department had been evaluated. The data from the trial also showed a statistically significant decrease in mean length of cardiovascular hospital stays from four days in the in-office arm to 3.3 days in the remote monitoring arm. 

In addition, cardiovascular hospitalization costs were reduced by an estimated $1,659 per hospitalization owing to the shorter length of stay, while the trial data also showed replacement of routine in-clinic visits with remote monitoring did not significantly increase other health care utilization. 

According to George H. Crossley, M.D., F.A.C.C., Saint Thomas Research Institute and Saint Thomas Heart at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, the CONNECT data showed remote monitoring with the CareLink Network not only significantly reduced the time to clinical decision, but also may reduce the need for standard in-clinic visits, which may not always be necessary for the patient, and often place added burden on the physician's clinic. 

Crossley noted that at the same time, these data suggest that there may be other potential benefits of remote monitoring, including a reduction in mean length of stay for cardiovascular hospitalizations, which may have an economic impact on the patient and the healthcare system. 

March 2010, Medtronic, Inc. announced the U.S. launch of the VERTEX SELECT Reconstruction System that contains implants and an instrument set for performing the surgical procedures for patients that have a spinal condition that requires fusion or a surgery that must be performed from the back of the spine, also known as a posterior approach.

Raja Singh Chaudhary is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raja's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire


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