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Remote pacemaker monitoring comes to Guelph

A satellite clinic for remote pacemaker monitoring is expected to be an option for local patients before the end of June.
St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, where Guelph’s pacemaker clinic was transferred about a year ago, has announced that a pilot project to explore large-scale remote monitoring for pacemaker patients will be held at the YMCA-YWCA.
“Plans to introduce remote monitoring for St. Mary’s pacemaker patients continue to move along swiftly, and we are optimistic that the first group of patients to do their checkup remotely will begin by mid-June of this year,” St. Mary’s president Don Shilton said in a news release.
The pilot project was first announced in October 2013, after local pacemaker patients continued to protest the closure of the Guelph clinic.
The first satellite clinic will be at the YMCA-YWCA, a location chosen for its convenience and accessibility, the release said.
A leader in the protest, Bill Winegard, said hundreds of local pacemaker clients are pleased that the Kitchener hospital has moved quickly to establish remote monitoring.
“We continue to be surprised that remote monitoring is only now being seriously considered in Canada,” Winegard said in the release.
“It is appropriate that St. Mary’s take the lead, given the fact that we live in the heart of the ‘technology triangle.’  We are confident that the trials will be successful and that St. Mary’s will lead Ontario to the future.”
Screening of patients who meet the eligibility requirements is underway and will continue throughout the summer, the release said.
Patients will be contacted by phone to be invited to take part in the pilot, and education sessions will be offered prior to the monitoring session.
The remote monitoring technology is not expected to replace the need to visit the hospital, but it has the potential to reduce the number of required visits, the release said.
“Until now, remote pacemaker monitoring had only been explored in Canada by one other hospital, and St. Mary’s is the first to do so in Ontario, so there is no established model for a pilot such as this,” said Shilton.
If the project is successful, it is hoped the model will be expanded to additional locations across the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. It could also become part of current practice for other Ontario healthcare facilities.

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