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TELEMEDICINE IMPROVES MANAGEMENT OF CARDIAC PACEMAKER PATIENTS BOOSTING ACCESS TO MONITORING FOR RURAL PATIENTS NATIONWIDE

WINDSOR, Conn., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey conducted by Raytel Medical Corporation, the world's leading and most experienced provider of transtelephonic cardiac monitoring (TTM) services, confirms that cardiac pacemaker patients living in both rural and urban communities nationwide benefit from the convenience and cost-efficiency of TTM.

"A vital application of telemedicine that meets the goals of managed healthcare, TTM's simplicity, flexibility of scheduling, and round-the- clock availability have contributed to positive patient response," says Allan Zinberg, president & COO of Raytel.

TTM uses ordinary home telephone lines to exchange technical and medical information used to evaluate pacemaker function or detect cardiac incidents such as an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

Data compiled by Raytel's cardiac monitoring division, Cardiac Datacorp-CardioCare shows that 98 percent of a sample group of 546 pacemaker patients in 47 states and the District of Columbia are "overwhelmingly satisfied" with TTM services.

"Accessibility is a key factor in patient satisfaction. TTM enables patients to overcome limited mobility, lack of transportation to medical facilities, prolonged distances to physicians' offices, or adverse weather conditions," said Zinberg. "It is especially important for non-urban residents who constitute more than 75 percent of our patient population and are forced to travel long distances to access service."

Pacemaker problems can arise without warning. Regular telephonic monitoring evaluates the patient's heart rhythm and pacemaker system. Transmission of the electrocardiogram (ECG) provides the data necessary to guard against such problems as battery depletion and failure of the pacemaker system to capture and/or sense the heart. TTM can sometimes document a failure in the pacemaker system before symptoms present themselves, avoiding unexpected emergencies. The patient's ECG and the technical analysis is immediately forwarded to the patient's physician.

A symptomatic patient visiting the emergency room (ER) where an ECG and other tests are taken would be billed at a significantly higher rate than TTM. Thus, lower cost is another positive attraction to patients, physicians and managed care organizations.
 ER FEES ER FEES
 SUBURBAN URBAN TTM
 ER * $110 * $200 $0
 EKG $78 $82 $72-90
 TOTAL * $188 * $282 $72-90




*Reflects usual and customary charges for ER visit only, not including procedures rendered to patients.

Another factor is the anxiety and time involved in an ER visit which is often open-ended for the patient and their family members. A TTM exam only takes 15-20 minutes -- including transmission of information, interpretation, processing and physician notification.

"TTM testing, medical assessment of sporadic symptoms, as well as emergency triage are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Zinberg. "This service is particularly beneficial for high-risk patients which constitute up to 30 percent of all pacemaker patients including those who are pacemaker-dependent or who have their pacing system leads on advisory, since they are more likely to require testing or reassurance outside of normal hours."

TTM also offers special services to hearing- and seeing-impaired individuals. Special transtelecommunication devices enable direct monitoring contact between members of this impaired patient population who require transtelephonic monitoring.

In addition, multilingual interpretive services are also available for those requiring this assistance. Physicians as well as patients in the home or nursing home setting enjoy toll-free access to this service.

"All the decision-makers in our nation's managed healthcare system including providers, payors and consumers are reaping the benefits of telemedicine with reduced expenditures, faster service and better management of patient care," says Zinberg.

Over the past two decades, Raytel has monitored more than 350,000 patients nationwide. Currently, Raytel monitors 70,000+ patients with implanted pacemakers and over 30,000 with suspected cardiac arrhythmias annually. Raytel also operates outpatient imaging centers throughout the United States through its Raytel Medical Imaging division which has a participating PPO entity known as Raytel Imaging Network. Raytel also announced recently the formation of Raytel Cardiovascular Labs, Inc., a provider of cardiac catheterizadon services and other invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

For further information, call 1-800-367-1095.
 -0- 1/16/95


/CONTACT: Jodi Amendola of CPR Medical Marketing & Communications, 201-641-1911; or Charleen Ernst of Raytel Medical Corporation, 800-367-1095, Ext. 203/

CO: Raytel Medical Corporation ST: Connecticut IN: HEA SU:

JJ-PL -- NY005 -- 1520 01/16/95 09:32 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1995
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