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Moses Cone patients use app to help monitor pacemaker

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – Smart remote technology allows heart patients with pacemakers to send data to their doctors outside the exam room.

Patient Gene Burton likes to send his information from the comfort of his living room.

“It saves me having to have a doctor’s appointment, saves my son, since I don’t drive, having to take me to that doctor’s appointment,” Burton said.

Burton has been using a pacemaker for three years after his heart suddenly stopped during a knee operation.

“So the surgery I had on my knee was supposed to be day surgery and going home, I wound up three, four maybe five days later in the hospital at Moses Cone and not knowing why?” Burton said.

He, much like other patients, are required a visit every 90 days to test and tweak the device for efficiency and monitoring irregular heartbeat.

Burton’s doctor, Dr. James Allred, said a monitoring system called MyCareLink Smart allows him to better supervise his patient’s health. Moes Cone Memorial Hospital is one of seven sites in the country to be chosen to pilot the program in use for about a year.

“If we see a patient in the office today and we’re only going to see them back six months later, a lot of stuff can happen in six months. If they have this smart technology at home then we’ll know about it a lot sooner and hopefully keep that patient out of the ER,” Allred said.

The app is iPhone or Android compatible and can be used by smartphone or tablet.

“So many of our patients with pacemakers keep landlines just to follow their pacemaker,” Allred said. “So now that we have newer technologies that use cell technology they can rid of their landline and they can travel for months at a time and not worry about whether their pace maker is being interrogated.”

With simple picture instructions, patients simply turn on the remote; hold the remote to the pacemaker on his or her chest when prompted and in a matter of minutes current data is sent to the doctor’s office.

“The information goes to your phone which then Bluetooths to a Medtronic website, and then my staff goes online and looks that every day,” Allred said.

At LeBauer Heart Care in Greensboro, Allred explained that copies of the chart results are put in color coded folders by risk and reviewed.

Should irregular patterns or complications arise, doctors would immediately call the patient.

Burton has not had that happen yet and is enjoying technology that allows him to be flexible with his pacemaker.

“I’m grateful for all of it, grateful to be here, thanks to modern medicine,” Burton said.

Currently, about 150 patients use the MyCareLink Smart Monitor at Moses Cone.