Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia affecting more than six million people in the United States. The economic burden is estimated to be >$6 billion annually with catastrophic events dramatically increasing expenditure. When patients experience symptoms, they commonly present to an acute care facility; this can be costly and anxiety provoking.
Same-day access issues prohibit patients from communicating directly with their cardiology provider, forcing them to use resources and increasing psychological burden.
A convenience sample, made up of 43 patients, was given a KardiaMobile device. Eligible patients had ≥2 AF-related emergency department (ED) or urgent care (UC) visits over 12 months, needed rate control with medication titration, or were monitored for AF reoccurrence after reestablishing sinus rhythm.
Patients emailed recordings daily and when experiencing symptoms. The recordings were reviewed by a nurse practitioner (NP); abnormal readings were followed by a phone call, telehealth, or in-person visit.
An independently designed survey was conducted online; almost all respondents (97%) found value in the project and the device. Virtually all respondents (97%) felt that the program improved access. A majority (86%) reported decreased anxiety. Had the respondents not been in the program, 34% indicated that they would have presented to an ED and 25% would have presented to an UC, realizing a cost savings of $81,950 in reduced ED visits alone.
A personal electrocardiogram, with NP oversight, to manage AF is cost-effective and reduces unnecessary resource utilization. It is patient centered, improves access, and empowers patients to manage their symptoms.