Updated tools and equipment can make a difference in your patient's care, so investing in the right equipment for your medical office is essential to operate a successful practice. You can ensure you use the best technology by following this buyer's guide for tips on finding the right EKG and ECG for your office.
What Is an Electrocardiograph?
The purpose of an electrocardiograph is to measure heart activity. It can interpret the heart's rate, strength, and timing. Electrodes get placed on areas of the body such as the arms, legs, ankles, and chest.
Once the electrocardiograph collects the correct data from the patient's body, it prints out the results to be analyzed by the doctor. If the ECG detects an irregularity, it will include that in the results.
Electrocardiographs may be used on patients if they're experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or any heart-related issues.
However, although ECGs are a vital technology to have in a medical office, keep in mind that the effect of the electrocardiograph may be reduced due to underlying conditions such as
- Smoking or exercise before the test
- Specific medications
- Electrolyte imbalances
Be sure to ask your patients questions and determine if an ECG is the right tool to diagnose their medical issues.
Two Main Types Of Electrocardiographs
The words electrocardiograph (EKG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) are essentially used interchangeably because they're the same thing.
EKG is the official abbreviation of the spelling of the word, "elektrokardiographie," which is the German translation of the English word "electrocardiogram." There is no difference in this machine; it performs the same duties all medical offices require. However, there are two main types of electrocardiographs used to determine heart health.
A resting electrocardiograph is used when a patient is resting during an examination or before a procedure. You must place a minimum of six electrodes on the patient's body—but it’s more common for professionals to use up to 15 or 18 electrodes to get a more detailed reading of the heart.
Stress Test Electrocardiograph
This type of electrocardiograph is used while the patient is performing physical activity. A doctor might use this machine to determine the effects of increased physical exercise on the patient's heart.
The patient is typically on a treadmill running at an accelerating speed for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The number of electrodes is generally placed on another machine to measure blood pressure and other data.
What To Consider When Purchasing
Updating technology in your clinic can be a costly investment. You'll need to consider many factors to determine which tool is right for you. Here are some components to consider when purchasing an electrocardiograph for your office.
A typical ECG prints out three electrical waves for measurement:
- "P" wave
- "QRS" wave
- "T" wave
These waves provide additional information to offer the most accurate data analysis. The "P" wave measures the electrical pulses in the area above the heart. The "QRS" wave denotes the electrical pulses below the heart. The "T" wave documents the heart's ability and effort to return to a resting state.
In addition, the ECG may print out data on 60mm strips or 8.5x11 sheets of paper. Many medical professionals prefer to print their data out on paper as they're easier to handle during examinations.
The medical community and other professionals provide consistent advancements and upgrades to the ECG and other medical equipment. A modern ECG may now feature an LCD touchscreen to improve the functionality and convenience of the display.
ECGs may also feature Wi-Fi connectivity to provide a more efficient analysis for the patient. A newer ECG may also contain interpretation software to gather data quicker than an older model.
Many newer models allow professionals to access them while gathering data remotely. This is possible through a web-based ECG management system and improves workflow.
The speed at which doctors can now access data from an ECG can make the difference in a life-or-death situation. Some ECGs even feature wearable technology that connects with the patient's smartphone, making exams faster and more efficient for both you and your patient.
Many current models can now connect to other technological equipment quicker than ever before through ECG management systems.
A medical professional can use a few types of ECG management systems to maximize efficiency.
Physicians can now take advantage of a cloud ECG management network that provides web access with a low-cost fee per ECG to reduce the cost of implementing a basic management system.
Professionals may also use third-party ECG management that offers easier integration of different software between different medical technology in the office.
As mentioned, ECGs now offer mobile access to primary care physicians using smartphone mechanics to allow for faster connectivity. This may be a dynamic modernization that may change the medical community for the better.
Depending on the size of your location, you may need to factor in the size of your new ECG. You'll need to ensure it can fit in your office where it can operate competently without interfering with other equipment. Keep in mind that size may impact the effectiveness of the ECG.
New Versus Refurbished
Many technological products offer refurbished options for consumers, and it is no different in the medical field. When choosing an ECG for your clinic, you may decide between purchasing a new ECG or a refurbished model.
Before any refurbished product goes back on the market, it must undergo a rigorous and thorough inspection process to ensure they're reusable.
It is safe to purchase a refurbished ECG if you have a smaller budget for equipment upgrades. But remember to perform your own inspection upon its arrival.
Reliability of the Seller
Regardless of whether you purchase a new or used ECG, it would be best to research your vendor's reliability and trustworthiness.
If your office is in Florida, you can purchase safe and dependable medical equipment in Miami to ensure that you're using the best tools for your practice. No matter where you're located, ensure that you’re purchasing your gear from a responsible vendor.
Doing so is vital to the success of your practice. You can choose from various ECGs and EKGs—follow the above guide for tips on finding the right one for your practice.