Researchers from Canada and Australia have found that the use of remote monitoring for patients with chronic heart failure has the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes (mortality, morbidity and quality indicators).
The use of remote monitoring (telephone support or telemonitoring) to electronically transfer a patients' physiological data such as blood pressure, weight and ECG and oxygen details, to their healthcare provider has increased in prevalence over the past years. According to research recently published in The British Medical Journal, remote monitoring for patients with chronic heart failure helped reduce heart failure admissions to hospitals and lowered all cause mortality by nearly twenty per cent.
"What we found is that the use of remote monitoring programs can improve outcomes in patients with heart failure and such an approach could help deal with the increasing number of patients with chronic heart failure that cannot be accommodated in existing specialty clinics due to access issues related to geography, lack of resources or infirmity," said Dr. Finlay McAlister, University of Alberta researcher.
Because remote monitoring (either through close telephone follow-up with specially trained nurses or telemonitoring involving the daily transmission of a patient's vital signs, weight and symptoms to health care providers) permits closer follow-up of patients with heart failure, this allows for the potential for earlier detection and management of changes in a patient's health.
"It must be noted that although we have found substantial benefits with remote monitoring for patients with chronic heart failure, telephone monitoring is not a treatment, but rather a different way of providing effective care," said Dr. McAlister. "Therefore, programs that include remote monitoring should not be seen as a replacement for specialist care or multidisciplinary care clinics, but instead should be viewed as a potential adjunct."