Irregular heartbeats can be common, but they can also signal underlying cardiac conditions that may require special monitoring. Patients who do not require hospitalization while being monitored can opt for wearable devices such as the Zio Patch.
Understanding How the Zio Patch Works
Attached to the skin with a medical-grade adhesive, the wireless 2-by-5-inch Zio Patch constantly monitors the heart’s rhythm and keeps the data stored for analysis later on. Because this water-resistant device can be worn all day and night long over the course of several days or weeks, the data it provides is a valuable tool in diagnosing cardiac conditions accurately.
Other wearable cardiac monitors tend to require several nodes and wires, which can be uncomfortable and may produce inaccurate results due to disruption in the signals sent from the nodes to the monitoring device. The technology behind the Zio Patch is able to filter between what it detects as the heart’s rhythm and what may be interference.
When compared to other wearable cardiac monitors, the Zio Patch is favored for its ease of use for patients and its accuracy for diagnosing cardiac events for physicians.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with the Zio Patch
The Zio Patch has relatively few issues where it concerns adverse reactions or risks to a patient’s health. Patients who may have an allergic reaction to certain adhesive chemicals may not be able to wear a Zio Patch. If the application of the patch results in excessive redness or itching, it should be removed immediately.
Some medical conditions that impact cardiac rhythm can interfere with the data a Zio Patch collects and therefore those patients may be advised against using the device due to the chance of receiving inaccurate results. Other medical devices, such as defibrillators, MRI machines or those that emit high frequencies may disrupt how the Zio Patch functions. The patch should be removed before using these devices.
Patients should not share patches with others or reuse a patch from someone else. This can expose them to contaminants or contagions.
Medicare Coverage for the Zio Patch
Although this device must be prescribed by a physician for use, it is considered an outpatient diagnostic service and should fall under Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance). It’s unlikely that this device would be used during an inpatient hospital stay covered by Medicare benefits through Part A (hospital insurance).
Part B services can require certain out-of-pocket expenses when there is a deductible to be met and copays or coinsurance amounts associated with the service or test you require. Medigap or Medicare Advantage plans may be able to reduce those cost-sharing obligations, but your options for choosing one of those plans may be limited by your location.
Patients who qualify for certain Medicaid programs as a Medicare recipient can also have their cost-sharing obligations reduced, but eligibility is determined by each state. Because Medicare would still be billed for this diagnostic test, any recipient may need their doctor to submit appropriate documents for prior authorization even if their share-of-costs are covered by an additional insurer.