This research is meant to establish if a patient monitored with mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) sees different outcomes regarding diagnostic yield of arrhythmia, therapeutic management through the use of antiarrhythmic drugs, and cardiovascular costs incurred in the hospital setting when compared with more traditional monitoring devices, such as the Holter or the Event monitor.
Materials and methods
We conducted a retrospective analysis spanning 57 months of claims data from January 2007 to September 2011 pertaining to 200,000+ patients, of whom 14,000 used MCT only, 54,000 an Event monitor only, and 163,000 a Holter monitor only. Those claims came from the Truven database, an employer database that counts 2.8 million cardiovascular patients from an insured population of about 10 million members. We employed a pair-wise pre/post test-control methodology, and ensured that control patients were similar to test patients along the following dimensions: age, geographic location, type of cardiovascular diagnosis both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, and the cardiovascular drug class the patient uses.
First, the diagnostic yield of patients monitored with MCT is 61%, that is significantly higher than that of patients that use the Event monitor (23%) or the Holter monitor (24%). Second, patients naive to antiarrhythmic drugs initiate drug therapy after monitoring at the following rates: 61% for patients that use MCT compared with 39% for patients that use the Event and 43% for patients that use the Holter. Third, there are very significant inpatient cardiovascular savings (in the tens of thousands of dollars) for patients that undergo ablation, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and valve septa. Savings are more modest but nonetheless significant when it comes to the heart/pericardium procedure.
Given the superior outcome of MCT regarding both patient care and hospital savings, hospitals only stand to gain by enforcing protocols that favor the MCT system over the Event or the Holter monitor.