The VA Pacemaker Program is an outstanding, pioneering example of telemedicine. The program provides computer-facilitated transtelephonic monitoring (TTM) to veterans with implanted cardiac devices. The program is divided into two centers, the Eastern Pacemaker Surveillance Center, located in Washington DC, and the Western Center in San Francisco. The Eastern Center presently follows about 10,000 active patients and has a total database of about 60,000 patients.
Cardiac devices have become extremely technologically complex. Monitoring them at regular intervals can provide much useful clinical information to improve the patient’s life and quality of life. TTM monitoring detects battery failures and thereby prolongs useful life of the implanted cardiac device. Additionally, such follow-up reveals early problems such as intermittent loss of capture.
The Center additionally monitors insertable loop recorders and other arrhythmia monitoring devices. For Washington area VA patients with cardiac devices, the Center also conducts a weekly clinic to supplement TTM monitoring.
Computerized database and automated report-generation enhance both accuracy and efficiency and improve patient satisfaction.