News, NHS trust

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS pilot informs national guidance for ECGs in mental health

A pilot project from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust which saw portable ECG devices used to monitor community patients on certain antipsychotic medications during the pandemic, has helped to inform to national guidance around ECGs.

Through the pilot project, which spanned three months, patients could place the device on their knee and send an ECG reading directly to their smartphone, enabling mental health professionals to “track the impact of antipsychotic drugs on a patient’s cardiac health”. It demonstrated that “compared to 12-lead ECGs, the portable device would save hundreds of hours of staff time a year”.

This pilot is now informing the development of national guidance around ECGs, with NICE conditionally recommending the device for psychiatric services in their Early Value Assessment Guidance. Although this recommendation places conditions on the device’s use which require further evidence to be generated prior to a “further full technology reassessment”; this means that it can now be used “as an option to measure cardiac QT interval in adults having, or about to have, antipsychotic medication”.

Dr M Santhana Krishnnan, said: “To receive an initial recommendation that the portable ECG machine can be used in psychiatric services is very encouraging. It’s very important that people taking antipsychotic medicines have a regular ECG, and being able to monitor a person’s health in their own home is much more comfortable and less intrusive.”

To read more about the pilot project, please click here.

In October, we looked at an article published in npj digital medicine journal, which evaluated the potential for the fusion of data collected from wearables to present “an effective data fusion framework” to contribute to more holistic approach to monitoring health.

Internationally, the World Health Organisation has published its 2023 Essential Diagnostics List (EDL)  – an “evidence-based register of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) that supports countries to make national diagnostic choices” – which for the first time incorporates advice on the inclusion of personal use glucose monitoring devices for diabetes.