Traditionally, follow-up has taken the place of face-to-face outpatient consultations, where a technician will use a computer to ‘talk’ to the pacemaker, check it is working properly, and make any adjustments if necessary.
Over the last few years, significant advances in wireless technology have meant some of these appointments can be replaced by scheduled device downloads over the internet, via a modem in a patient’s home.
When it comes to device implantation, not unsurprisingly relatively few devices are put in privately compared to the NHS. That is because the cost of the equipment itself often runs into many thousands of pounds.
Until recently, there was no option for private device follow-up. Virtually all private medical insurance policies will not cover it, as they pass that cost and work onto the NHS. However, that does not mean that follow-up could not be performed in the private sector, with advantages for the patient.