A new survey by global digital healthcare company Vivalink shows a majority of clinicians trust the accuracy of mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) over the Holter monitor. Of 100 participants, 68% said MCT provides better detection rates and more accurate diagnoses of cardiac issues compared with the older Holter monitor technology. Vivalink makes a reusable, wearable ECG sensor patch that works with both MCT and Holter services.

The gold standard in mobile cardiac monitoring for decades, the Holter monitor was invented in the 1950s. Still widely used, it continues to offer a reliable solution for monitoring heart rhythm in ambulatory patients. The device is worn around the neck and connected by wires to electrodes placed on the chest. In contrast, MCT monitors communicate wirelessly with chest electrodes and are lightweight enough to carry in a pocket or clipped to a belt.

When comparing the Holter monitor to MCT, 52% of respondents in the Vivalink survey said the primary advantage of the Holter monitor was ease-of-use. Disadvantages reported with the Holter monitor include its bulkiness and discomfort for patients (48%) and delayed results (20%). Regarding MCT, survey participants reported disadvantages such as complexity (50%) and extra training (25%). 

When asked about prescribing either system in the future, 63% of the clinicians said they expect to use Holter monitors slightly more than MCT units in 2022. Forty-five percent said they prescribe both systems at about the same rate. 

Fifty percent of respondents believe that better awareness among clinicians is the key to expanding the use of MCT. Eventually, MCT is expected to replace the Holter monitor. First, however, telemetry monitors will need to become more user-friendly or clinicians will need to gain more experience using them. Diagnosing cardiac conditions faster and more accurately should serve as a strong motivator for clinicians to up their telemetry game, and may indeed influence more streamlined design. Until then, rest assured, both systems will continue to facilitate effective remote patient cardiac monitoring.