New Telemetry Unit at BRMC

Penny Oyler, Bradford Regional Medical Center’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services, and Jason Nuzzo, exercise physiologist at the Upbeat Wellness/Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, review data of a rehab patient when active and at rest. Upbeat can now monitor patients more completely with a new telemetry unit. (Photo Courtesy of BRMC)

By George Nianiatus, senior writer
Communications Department

Up to eight cardiac patients undergoing rehabilitation can now have their exercise activities simultaneously monitored and the data fully summarized for diagnostic trending purposes at Bradford Regional Medical Center’s (BRMC) Upbeat Wellness/Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

This new capability is due to BRMC’s acquisition of a state-of-the-art telemetry unit, TeleRehab Advantage, a uniquely designed monitoring system for heart patients developed by ScottCare Corp. The telemetry unit provides continuous monitoring of heart patients, measuring heart rhythm and other vital signs such as blood pressure, breathing and oxygen content in blood during exercise and at rest, says Penny Oyler, BRMC’s director of Cardiopulmonary Services.

“This more comprehensive data log will allow staff and physicians to see trends more clearly and determine a patient’s condition throughout the rehabilitation process,” Ms. Oyler says.

BRMC’s Upbeat program is on the groundfloor of the Outpatient Services Center, located off North Bennett Street access. “The new telemetry system will provide physicians with important information regarding exercise hemodynamics (blood pressure and heart rate), thereby allowing them to select cardiac medication dosages more efficiently,” explains Steven Herrmann, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, FASE, medical director of Cardiovascular Services at The Heart Center at BRMC.

“Cardiac rehab is the backbone of cardiac secondary prevention for heart disease,” Dr. Herrmann says. “The Upbeat program is vital to BRMC’s success for these patients and the new telemetry system confirms our belief and commitment to the program.”
The cardiologist notes, “I am very excited about our new system and believe that, through the efforts of the staff and the Upbeat program, we have a valued new addition in our fight against heart disease.”

Because of the new telemetry system, “We can now measure outcomes more completely and also retain a patient’s information from visit to visit for far more accurate trending purposes,” Ms. Oyler says. “We’ll be better able to determine the benefits of cardiac rehab on the heart and lungs of patients.”

With the help of more detailed data and graphics, “It shows us a patient’s progress from start to finish during their rehab program,” notes Jason Nuzzo, Upbeat’s exercise physiologist. The telemetry unit also gives Upbeat healthcare professionals the ability to remotely monitor patients on one side of the facility while they are with another patient.

“With a PDA (personal digital assistant), for example, I can go out on the floor and keep track of two patients with the handheld computer while I’m with another patient,” Mr. Nuzzo says.

Another benefit of the system, in terms of data interpretation, is “visual clarity is far better so it’s easier to read,” he adds.

Funding for the new unit came from the Bradford Stroke Group Upbeat Fund, Ms Oyler says. Gifts to this fund, established in 1998, support the Upbeat wellness programs at BRMC. For more information about the fund or to make a donation, call Bradford Hospital Foundation at 362-3200 or visit the website

At BRMC, there’s a holistic approach to heart health, from appropriate diagnostics and treatment to a focus on the mind-body-spirit connection. This is the focus of the Upbeat program, Ms. Oyler says. It was the first of its kind in the region, offering wellness programs in exercise, nutrition and stress reduction for cardiac and pulmonary patients through physician referral and to BRMC employees. Programs are tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs and where comfort is a concern. Started in 1989 initially for cardiac rehab patients, the program has since expanded to address areas of wellness including diet, exercise and stress reduction.

The professionally trained staff includes exercise physiologists, a physician advisor, nurses, dietitians, social workers, cardiopulmonary specialists and a complement of CPR-trained volunteers, many of whom successfully completed the Upbeat cardiac rehabilitation program.

Upbeat’s hours are: 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. To learn how to obtain a referral from a physician for the Upbeat program, costs or additional information, call 814-362-8426.


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