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Integrated ECG in BP and MD Risks Data Loss

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We strive for efficiency in everything we do. Time is valuable and time saved is worth its weight in gold. Those moments when you need to quickly get an Electrocardiogram (ECG) started are critical, because patient care is paramount. The last thing you want to be worried about in these moments is your technology. Enter Integrated ECG: a short-sighted solution to say the least.

What is Integrated ECG?

ECG Integration is a tool or system to automatically record ECG results directly into your clinical record. This saves time and steps in the ECG recording process, and you can have results available faster. Because of this, ECG integration is available in most medical software.

This may appear the perfect way to make life easier for your clinic and speed up a complex process. The reality could be devastating to your patient records.

What is the risk of Integrated ECG?

Using Integrated ECG recording, the file that is stored in your Electronic Health Record (eg. Best Practice or Medical Director) is a proprietary file format. This means that the ONLY program that can open this file is the one that created it. There are a myriad of reasons why the ECG program would cease being available, accessible, or licensed for you. At this point all past ECGs saved like this would be lost forever.

Under the Mandatory Notifiable Data Breach legislation in Australia, any loss of access to clinical data represents a Notifiable Data Breach. The knock-on effect of a data breach can incur significant cost and harm to a business of any size. We must do everything we can to avoid this situation occurring, not just for our clients but any practice who takes their patients’ data seriously.

What is the alternative?

The best way to store information for long term access is Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF is a reliable ISO standard file format, designed specifically for long term data storage. It is open and accessible to any program and will continue to be so, long after computers as we know them are a distant memory.

Unfortunately, most Integrated ECG systems do not store ECGs in this format, despite many appeals to ECG manufacturers.

For now, this means that your ECG process is slightly longer as the ECG must be exported manually to PDF and attached to the patient file in your Electronic Health Record.

Health IT can assist your clinic to establish the most efficient workflows for storing ECGs as PDFs – please get in touch if you need a hand.

Please encourage other practices to use PDF instead of Integrated ECG, until a better solution is available


Health IT provide new hardware installs and software licensing. We are your one stop shop for one-off installs, large scale practice expansions, and anything in between.

We offer obligation-free consultation to new and existing clients. Book a time with our Practice Liaison manager to discuss your IT needs.

For more info and articles, visit our Tech Blog.

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