Don't get too enamored by heart care tech, says Northwell leader

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Raman Mitra, MD, PhD, director of electrophysiology at Northwell Health's North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset N.Y., discussed technology's role in heart care during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are the top issues in cardiology today? 

Dr. Raman Mitra: The No. 1 issue that I think is the biggest challenge in cardiology is the judicious use of technology. It's important that we don't underuse technology, as it has enhanced patient care, but we have to be careful not to overuse it. This includes areas such as telehealth, wearables, remote monitoring, cardiac imaging, some of the new percutaneous valve procedures, ventricular assist devices, as well as leadless pacemakers and complex ablation, which is an area that I specialize in. It's very easy to get enamored by technology, but it's a double-edged sword. 

As physicians, we have to involve our patients in shared decision-making to define our goals. Are we trying to prolong life? Are we trying to improve quality of life? Or are we trying to do both? Will the technology prolong, but not improve — or God forbid — worsen their quality of life? These discussions require time with the patient and their family, which isn't always encouraged by our current health system structure. … We'll have to increase both the number and quality of advanced care practitioners to meet the human need to do this well. We also need to be aware that medical device and technology companies are often trying to sell us interventions that are yet unproven in terms of really improving health outcomes. 

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