James Cireddu, MD, FACC, is a comprehensive invasive cardiologist with University Hospitals of Cleveland focused on community outreach, digital innovation, and trainee education as a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. As a clinical cardiologist and Medical Director of University Hospitals Regional Bedford and Richmond Campuses, Dr. Cireddu delivers high-quality, cutting-edge, patient-centered, and coordinated care to residents throughout northeast Ohio. Dr. Cireddu became interested in the potential of disruptive digital innovation to improve patient management, especially in underserved populations, including prisons, home-bound patients, nursing facilities, and rural communities. Dr. Cireddu received local and then national grant funding from the National Science Foundation to develop VPExam technology combining augmented reality overlays to guide video acquisitions and various devices, including Bluetooth stethoscopes with single lead ECG for high-quality, convenient, and cost-effective Remote Patient Management virtual care throughout the continuum of care.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Cireddu’s team was awarded non-operational funding from the inaugural University Hospitals of Cleveland Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute Digital Health Platform Fund for development of solutions that “not only solve today’s problems but pave our way to success in the future.” The support allowed our team of cardiologists, nurses, and residents to develop the “Harrington HVI Innovation Opportunity Comprehensive Telemedicine for Skilled Nursing Facilities and Home Care of Heart Failure Management.” In collaboration with University Hospitals of Cleveland Post-Acute Quality Network (PAQN), VPExam has been utilized at local Skilled Nursing Facilities as well as University Hospitals Home Care to provide comprehensive care to high-risk heart failure patients on hospital discharge. “VPExam Virtual Care for Heart Failure Optimizing Transitions of Care Quality Improvement Project (VPExam QI)” revealed the workflows utilizing the platform resulted in 84% moderate significance modification in clinical care based on VPExam data including volume status assessment with JVP/ edema, cardiopulmonary auscultation, ECG detection of arrhythmias, and structured data transmission. Nursing satisfaction and compliance with follow-up were high with no technical errors after deployment on over 550 devices throughout the health system. VPExam QI intervention was associated with a 30-day hospital readmission relative risk reduction of over 40% and a 30-day all-cause mortality relative risk reduction of over 56%.
VPExam has been commercialized with innovative proprietary technology into a scalable platform allowing the highest quality cardiac care to be offered to underserved populations of Skilled Nursing Facilities and homebound patients with some of the highest morbidity and mortality. The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) awarded VPExam technology the designation of “Breakthrough Innovation in Cardiovascular Digital Health” at the national HRS conference in September 2022.
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