Yale School of Medicine is launching an initiative to assess if monitoring the symptoms and weight over telephone can reduce the number of hospitalizations in heart failure patients. Tele-HF is a four-year randomized controlled trial, which is being funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The trial will enroll 1,600 heart failure patients across the country. Patients from the 15 community-based cardiology practices will be assessed remotely. "Heart failure patients often experience a gradual deterioration in health status over weeks before ultimately requiring hospitalization," said Sarwat Chaudhry, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Yale and a lead investigator on the trial. "A system of frequent monitoring may help clinicians to intervene early and thereby avoid the need for hospitalization." The system requires patients to answer certain questions on a daily basis and enter their weight at an automated system. Doctors at the practices can then review these answers thereby giving good care to their patients. Harlan Krumholz, M.D., professor of medicine and principal investigator on the trial said, "This study will provide a remarkable opportunity to determine if a low technology intervention can help heart failure patients. This intervention will engage patients in their care and improve communication with their physicians." Patients will be randomly assigned to either a standard care group or a standard care plus telemonitoring group and will receive case for six months. For the study, investigators are using Tel-Assurance(tm), a telemonitoring technology developed by Pharos Innovations.