Background: The length of waiting lists in Italy for outpatient cardiology investigations provided by the National Health System is a serious dysfunction. The shortage of physicians in hospitals makes it difficult to solve this problem by drawing on internal resources. The waiting list at Valduce Hospital in Como for outpatient echocardiographic examinations was 12 months at the beginning of 2018. Therefore, we experimented a new way to deal with this inefficiency. Methods: Starting in February 2018, we have undertaken in Valduce Hospital a partnership between the Department of Cardiology and an external startup (Ecocardioservice LLC) which guarantees for outpatients on-site performance by sonographers of echocardiographic examinations that are subsequently reported remotely via telemedicine by experienced cardiologists. Results: From February 12, 2018 to July 7, 2022, 20 782 examinations were carried out by this mode. The waiting list was reduced from 12 months to 15-20 days. A new diagnosis or a significant change in pre-existing pathology were detected in 3466 patients well in advance of previous timelines. In 5640 patients we found a known stable pathology. Of the 8926 patients with pathologic examination, 3706 patients were taken over by the Cardiology Department for subsequent investigations, possible hospitalization and, when necessary, interventional or cardiac surgical procedures on an elective basis in 2636 cases (71%) and on an urgent basis in 1070 cases (29%). Conclusions: In our experience, a system in which echocardiograms are performed on-site by sonographers and then reported in telecardiology by cardiologists outside the facility makes it possible to meet the demands of the local area and free up internal resources. This organization allowed to bring outpatients waiting lists for echocardiography back within acceptable limits and to intercept early a significant proportion of patients with need for further investigations or procedures.

Echocardiography in telemedicine: a possible solution for containing waiting lists in cardiology [L’ecocardiografia in telemedicina: una possibile soluzione per il contenimento delle liste d’attesa in cardiologia]

De Ponti, Roberto;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background: The length of waiting lists in Italy for outpatient cardiology investigations provided by the National Health System is a serious dysfunction. The shortage of physicians in hospitals makes it difficult to solve this problem by drawing on internal resources. The waiting list at Valduce Hospital in Como for outpatient echocardiographic examinations was 12 months at the beginning of 2018. Therefore, we experimented a new way to deal with this inefficiency. Methods: Starting in February 2018, we have undertaken in Valduce Hospital a partnership between the Department of Cardiology and an external startup (Ecocardioservice LLC) which guarantees for outpatients on-site performance by sonographers of echocardiographic examinations that are subsequently reported remotely via telemedicine by experienced cardiologists. Results: From February 12, 2018 to July 7, 2022, 20 782 examinations were carried out by this mode. The waiting list was reduced from 12 months to 15-20 days. A new diagnosis or a significant change in pre-existing pathology were detected in 3466 patients well in advance of previous timelines. In 5640 patients we found a known stable pathology. Of the 8926 patients with pathologic examination, 3706 patients were taken over by the Cardiology Department for subsequent investigations, possible hospitalization and, when necessary, interventional or cardiac surgical procedures on an elective basis in 2636 cases (71%) and on an urgent basis in 1070 cases (29%). Conclusions: In our experience, a system in which echocardiograms are performed on-site by sonographers and then reported in telecardiology by cardiologists outside the facility makes it possible to meet the demands of the local area and free up internal resources. This organization allowed to bring outpatients waiting lists for echocardiography back within acceptable limits and to intercept early a significant proportion of patients with need for further investigations or procedures.
2023
2023
Echocardiography; Health Services Administration; Outpatients; Telecardiology; Waiting list
Corrado, Giovanni; De Ponti, Roberto; Berlinghieri, Nicola; Foglia-Manzillo, Giovanni; Bonfanti, Paolo; Sormani, Luca; Tagliagambe, Luca M; Mantovani, Antonio; Bertoletti, Riccardo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2167493
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