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Open App Spotlight: Making life-saving ECGs more accessible and affordable

Would you have smoke detectors in your home if they cost $4,000 each and you could only put them in one room?

If smoke detectors were that costly and limited, fewer people would invest in this important detection measure. Luckily they are small, inexpensive and we can put one in every room to alert us to potentially catastrophic fires.

Spaulding Clinical believes that detecting danger in our hearts should also be affordable and accessible. And that it can alert the care team in real-time.  That’s why it developed Spaulding Electrocardiograph and webECGTM Cardiovascular Management Cloud, one of this year’s Open App Challenge Phase 1 award recipients.

ECGs anywhere, anytime

An electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors a person’s heart rate and rhythm. It’s a relatively simple test, but it’s an expensive machine most often located in hospitals. Enough barriers to dissuade some patients from getting the test.

With Spaulding’s hand-held ECG device – incidentally shape of a slightly smaller smoke detector – an ECG is now mobile. A smaller unit means this is very portable, easy to carry around and inexpensive enough for every doctor to own one.

Suddenly it’s far more accessible because clinicians can conduct the test in places such as the patient’s home.  Or schools that want to screen student athletes for congenital heart defects before they play basketball. Moving the test to less expensive areas opens up new opportunities for early detection.

Once the test uploads to the webECG Cloud, it is immediately available for review by the care team on their mobile devices with text or email.

Sounding the alarm before it’s too late

Not only is it easier to conduct the test, this solution makes it easier to identify patients who need it most.  It’s a manifestation of Open.

Spaulding used Allscripts Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to integrate the app tightly with Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The tool uses risk scales – such as the Framingham Risk Scale – to mine the EHR for health data that might indicate heart disease. For example, has his blood pressure changed? What did his ECG look like compared with the last one? It assigns a risk score to the patient.

For the cardiologist caring for hundreds of patients, that risk score can help quickly identify patients with the biggest issues. The minute the test is taken, results are available to the care team. This type of real-time information is just not possible in closed systems.

The power of Open to save lives

Much like smoke detectors, an ECG can identify problems before tragedy strikes. We should make every effort to make this early warning system accessible and affordable.

Spaulding Clinical has an expertise in cardiac care. Allscripts sets the standard in Open EHR technology. Healthcare information technology is becoming a team sport, where every player must play their best position to bring change. Because we both embrace Open technology, our core competencies bring greater benefits to patients throughout the continuum of care.

Editor’s Note: Open App Spotlight will feature other Allscripts Open App Challenge Phase 1 recipients over the next several weeks. The challenge reflects Allscripts commitment to being Open to innovation, and why Open matters to the future of health care. To learn more read the Open App Challenge news release, or to see stories like these in person, join us in Chicago this August at Allscripts Client Experience (ACE13).

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