Chronic heart failure patients equipped with the access to remote monitoring, through the use of telephone support or telemonitoring technology experienced reduced death and hospitalization rates, and may be getting benefits in terms of quality of life and health care costs, says international team of scientists.
According to the new Cochrane Systematic review, remote monitoring of patients can decrease pressure on resources, specifically for cases like chronic heart failure where health services are placed a huge amount of burden.
The review involved data from studies of over 9,500 subjects with chronic heart failure, through comparison of health outcomes from the use of technology and the conventional method of care.
Telemonitoring involves transmission of data from patients to a heart specialist via digital, wireless or Bluetooth transfer of information of their heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure and weight, while structured telephone support involves sharing of the data over the phone.
Intensified specialist follow-up of patient studies were excluded as they are supported by additional resources that influence the effects of the intervention.
The findings on deaths and hospitalization for 25 peer-reviewed studies were looked into. Follow-up duration of these studies spanned from 3 to 10 months, and the most studies reporting results after 12 months.
The results showed telemonitoring was effective in reducing deaths in patients with chronic failure - 102 per 1,000 vs. 154 per 1,000 in the control group.
No substantial benefit was observed with structured telephone support on deaths for patients in the studies - 112 per 1,000 vs. 127 per 1,000 in the control group.
It was found that both structured telephone support and telemonitoring substantially cut down the number of patients who were admitted to hospital due to worsening condition of their heart failure.
Hospitalizations from heart failure for subjects on structure telephone support occurred at a rate of 164 per 1,000 compared to 213 per 1,000 in a control group.
Hospitalizations from heart failure for subjects on telemonitoring occurred at a rate of 225 per 1,000 compared to 285 per 1,000 in a control group.
Dr Sally Inglis of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia said, There are benefits of structured telephone support and telemonitoring for patients with chronic heart failure.
These technologies can provide specialized care to a large number of patients who otherwise may have limited access to this type of specialized health care.
In some studies, they found that quality of life of patients has improved and that health care costs had been cut down, through the use of telephone support and telemonitoring.
However, more research is needed on the cost-effectiveness of telemonitoring to set the best business models, said Dr Inglis.