Home monitored HF patients can improve outcomes, reduce readmissions
Remote monitoring can improve the condition of mobile heart failure (HF) patients and reduce hospital readmissions, according to a pilot study that included 110 patients admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The patients, average age 70, were randomly selected to receive usual care for HF (68 patients) or remote monitoring (42 patients), HealthDay News reported.

The patients in the remote monitoring group received telemonitoring equipment to track vital signs. They weighed themselves daily and answered a set of symptom-related questions every day. The information was transmitted through a telemonitoring device to a nurse, who would call weekly or more frequently if a patient’s vital signs were outside normal parameters, according to HealthDay News.

After three months, patients in the remote monitoring group had lower average hospital readmission rates (31 percent) compared to patients in usual care (38 percent) and those who refused to participate (45 percent), HealthDay News reported. The patients in the remote monitoring group also had fewer HF-related readmissions and ER visits than patients in the other two groups.

The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare in Boston, conducted the study, which was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, in Baltimore.

“The goal of our Connected Cardiac Care program for this group of patients is to reduce hospital readmissions, provide timely intervention and help them understand their condition using home telemonitoring,” said lead author Ambar Kulshreshtha, MD, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General.

The researchers plan to expand the Connected Cardiac Care program to target 350 mobile heart failure patients by this summer, HealthDay News reported.

An estimated 5.3 million Americans have HF, and hospital discharges for the condition increased from 400,000 in 1979 to 1.08 million in 2005, an increase of 171 percent.