Health care using telephone and telemonitoring technology benefits heart failure patients

Aug 07, 2010

Providing patients with chronic heart failure access to remote monitoring, for example by telephone or telemonitoring using wireless technology, reduces deaths and hospitalisations and may provide benefits on health care costs and quality of life. These are the conclusions of a new Cochrane Systematic Review by an international team of researchers.

Remote monitoring of patients can reduce pressure on resources, particularly for conditions like , which exert a large burden on health services. In structured telephone support, patients provide vital data, such as heart rate and rhythm, and weight, over the phone, whereas telemonitoring usually involves digital, wireless or Bluetooth transmission of data to a heart specialist.

The review included studies involving over 9,500 participants, comparing both of these technologies to usual care for patients with chronic heart failure. Studies that provided intensified specialist follow-up to patients in the intervention and/or control arms were excluded, since the additional resources provided may have confounded the effects of the intervention.

Details on deaths and hospitalisations for 25 peer-reviewed studies were analysed. The length of follow-up of these studies ranged from three to 18 months, with many studies reporting outcomes after 12 months. Telemonitoring was effective in reducing mortality in patients with chronic heart failure (102 per 1000 vs. 154 per 1000 in the control group). However, no significant benefit was seen with structured telephone support on mortality for patients in these trials (112 per 1000 vs. 127 per 1000 in the control group).

Both structured telephone support and telemonitoring significantly reduced the number of patients who were admitted to hospital due to worsening of heart failure. Hospitalisations due to heart failure occurred at a rate of 164 per 1000 with structured telephone support compared to 213 in a control group, and at a rate of 225 per 1000 with telemonitoring compared to 285 in a control group.

"There are benefits of structured telephone support and telemonitoring for patients with chronic ," said lead researcher Dr Sally Inglis of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. "These technologies can provide specialised care to a large number of patients who otherwise may have limited access to this type of specialised healthcare."

Some studies also showed patients' quality of life improved and that health care costs had been reduced. "More work is required on the cost-effectiveness of telemonitoring to establish the best business models. These may vary depending on the local organisation of health services. The optimal duration of monitoring has not yet been addressed" said Dr Inglis.

This review can only reflect the individual included studies. Of all the relevant evidence on these technologies which was included in the review, some studies were not as well conducted or reported as the authors would have liked - a point picked up in an Editorial published to accompany the review.

Explore further: Sporting events should ditch nutritional supps and sports drinks sponsorship

More information: Inglis SC, Clark RA, McAlister FA, Ball J, Lewinter C, Cullington D, Stewart S, Cleland JGF. Structured telephone support or telemonitoring programmes for patients with chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD007228. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007228.pub2

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Telemonitoring: A bridge to personalized medicine

Sep 01, 2009

An increasing number of heart failure patients are treated with a number of complex devices, i.e. cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). Recently completed and ongoing clinical trials such as MADIT-CRT and EchoCRT provide ...

Herbal remedy useful for heart failure, review finds

Jan 23, 2008

Adding another twist to the ongoing debate over the value of an herbal treatment for patients with heart failure, a new review of existing research suggests that hawthorn extract “significantly” improves symptoms.

Heart pumps save lives

Jun 14, 2010

Heart failure is a very common condition: around 200,000 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with the disease. Some patients with life-threatening heart failure can be helped by mechanical heart pumps, reveals a thesis from ...

New method assesses risks for heart failure patients

Jul 30, 2008

Data from 260 hospitals across the United States has led to the creation of a new method for physicians to more accurately determine the severity of heart failure in patients upon hospital admission, with a goal of reducing ...

Recommended for you

Coke, Pepsi pledge to reduce calorie consumption

1 hour ago

Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper said Tuesday that they'll work to reduce the calories Americans get from beverages by 20 percent over the next decade by more aggressively marketing smaller sizes, bottled water ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ChristineWithRegence
not rated yet Aug 08, 2010
Technology and clear information can help control health care costs. Whatstherealcost.org is an interactive website with many tools that help you understand the real cost of healthcare.