Development of an ECG Communication and Management System is proposed for rapid inclusion of electrocardiograms into an electronic patient record. Preliminary results using a prototype system demonstrated the potential of the proposed system: the paper based original ECG records produced by different ECG equipment were digitized and then converted into data. Conversion times were between 0.5 and 1 seconds. The fidelity of digitized ECG data was determined by comparing it with electronically recorded standard 10-bit ECGs. The correlation coefficients for power spectra of selected 50 ECG tracings were 0.997 +/-0.0006. For the purposes of routine analysis, digitized ECG records appeared clinically equivalent to standard analog-to-digital conversion. This methodology coupled with any ECG analysis program is capable of producing highly accurate electrocardiographic lead data that can be included into electronic patient record. Thus this the proposed methodology is potentially a powerful and effective tool for rapid inclusion of vendor independent ECGs into a patient record. We propose to further study, optimize, and develop robust software so as to ultimately generate a rugged, routine technique for reliable inclusion of paper based ECG records into an electronic patient record. We expect this development will provide a less expensive method of ECG communication, storage and management.
The need for inclusion of ECG data into a universal electronic patient record is immense (see pages 19-20) and so there is a large market potential for ECG Communication and Management System. The proposed technique is expected to provide a rapid, low cost alternative to the current ECG record system.