Research to Assess Impact of Telemedicine on VAD Patients During Pandemic

Medtronic, ISHLT and ICCAC provide grant award to University of Chicago Researcher

ADDISON, Texas – September 17, 2020 – A researcher at the University of Chicago Medical Center has been awarded a grant to assess whether telemedicine, imposed by the pandemic, leads to improved patient satisfaction and access to care. Karen Meehan MSN, ACNS-BC, CVRN, an advanced practice nurse and VAD coordinator at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., has been awarded the ISHLT/ICCAC VAD Coordinator Career Development Award, sponsored by Medtronic.

Meehan’s research will explore whether telemedicine is, in fact, a better model than in-person care for patients who have received a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). The award is administered through the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) and the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians (ICCAC).

Like other VAD centers, the University of Chicago quickly pivoted to telemedicine at the onset of the pandemic so patients could be assessed and treated safely in their homes. Since then, Meehan found, telemedicine has effectively prevented readmissions while increasing patient satisfaction and access to care.

"In these uncertain times, before reverting back to the traditional model, we seek to have a better understanding of the adverse event ratio and readmission rates associated with a long-term telemedicine model of VAD care," Meehan said. "We may have inadvertently discovered a better way to deliver care."

The grant is funded through the generosity of Medtronic. "Medtronic recognizes the important role of the VAD Coordinator and is proud to support VAD Coordinators in their career development," said Nnamdi Njoku, vice president and general manager of the Mechanical Circulatory Support business at Medtronic. "On behalf of Medtronic, I would like to congratulate Karen Meehan for being selected this year’s award recipient and thank her for her commitment to advancing VAD therapy."

The International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation is a not-for-profit, multidisciplinary professional organization dedicated to improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease through transplantation, mechanical support and innovative therapies. For more information, visit