How remote patient monitoring is improving the outlook for those who need ongoing heart healthcare
Heart failure is a common and chronic condition that impacts more than 6 million people in the U.S. It’s thought to affect at least 26 million people worldwide, creating global demand for heart failure-related remote patient monitoring.
When a patient with heart failure doesn’t have a solid plan for consistent heart monitoring, they’re at higher risk of their condition steadily worsening. In the worst-case scenarios, congestive heart failure leads to severe organ damage and death.
Unfortunately, heart monitoring is often inconsistent and is limited by forces that are beyond the patient’s control. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) describes this impact in its report on the value of telemonitoring in heart failure management.
According to the NCBI, traditional chronic care management is “frequently hindered by economic, geographic, and bureaucratic barriers.” Patients may lack transportation or adequate income, limiting their ability to seek frequent, high-quality heart monitoring services from trained professionals.
For professionals, there are also significant barriers to serving patients at a distance. These include budget limitations, patient privacy concerns, having enough staff to consistently deliver high-quality remote services, locating the proper technology, training staff to use new technology, and adapting to the learning curve of hybrid in-person/telehealth care.
Both patients and professionals need a new approach to consistent heart care. Telehealth for chronic care management provides an urgently-needed solution for millions of patients with heart failure.
Purpose and Goals for Telehealth in Patients With Heart Failure
Innovative telehealth solutions address the core impediments to consistent patient monitoring including physical access, financial resources, and paperwork. Plus, tech-powered telemonitoring addresses perceived barriers to care, like the perception that heart monitoring is a hassle or that a doctor won’t take the patient’s concerns seriously.
Telemonitoring also allows a patient to feel safe and secure as they access important health information. From the comfort of their home, a patient can use the internet to connect with a trained professional who guides them through the heart monitoring process.
Important goals for heart failure-related telehealth include:
- Preventing heart conditions from worsening
- Avoiding hospital readmissions
- Empowering patients to understand their health and take action to improve it
- Making better use of resources like time and money
- Overall better health outcomes for those with chronic conditions
Devices and Technology Used for Heart Failure Telemonitoring
Until the early 2000s, the use of tech-enabled devices in healthcare was mostly limited to trained professionals like doctors and diagnostic specialists. A revolution in electronic health records (EHR) improved consistent health monitoring but still kept healthcare technology out of the hands of the patients themselves.
A shift occurred in the early 2010s and by 2015, healthcare tech experts were predicting that about 50 billion individual devices would be connected to the internet by 2020. This prediction came true and today, each person on the planet uses an average of 3.5 networked devices in their daily lives.
We’re in a new and fast-paced era of self-directed health technology. Anyone can take their blood pressure and see their heart rate using a machine found at their local pharmacy. There are thousands of smartphone apps that allow people to understand their health status and take steps to improve it by tapping on a screen in the palm of their hand.
In this tech-fueled environment, patients diagnosed with heart failure have options for ongoing heart monitoring. Telemonitoring solutions now include:
- Personal sensors capable of detecting and responding to inputs
- Data-gathering and readings conducted through smartphones
- Expert analysis via telemedicine over the internet
- Illness prevention plans orchestrated through apps
- Digital platforms that focus on providing comprehensive patient care
- AI-powered solutions for prevention and treatment of disease
Summary of Clinical Trials and Telemonitoring Research
There are many clinical trials that show positive results for heart failure telemonitoring. Here are some highlights that show successes in using remote patient monitoring to support heart health.
Prevents Early Death
In a trial known as Implant-Based Multiparameter Telemonitoring of Patients with Heart Failure (IN-TIME), telemonitoring showed a modest benefit in reducing death from all causes in patients with a mean age over 65.
Reduces Hospital Admissions and Readmissions
Telemonitoring has been shown to reduce hospital readmissions and significantly reduce emergency room visits in chronic heart failure patients. A reduction in hospital readmissions was also seen in the DIAL study that extended traditional healthcare through ongoing telephone/telemedicine patient contacts with dedicated nurses.
Overcomes Social Disparities
Emerging research shows telemonitoring can overcome persistent racial and ethnic disparities due to its emphasis on egalitarian access to healthcare.
Positive for Both Professionals and Patients
A study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that telemonitoring for chronic heart conditions gets high ratings among professionals and patients alike. Professionals showed concerns about the increased workload, but acknowledged the service was better meeting their patients’ needs. Patients felt a sense of reassurance from continually checking in with health professionals.
Has a Long-Term Impact in Patient Outcomes
One of the largest ever studies on heart failure telemonitoring found a positive impact from non-invasive telemonitoring efforts including reduced all-cause mortality. A five-year follow-up study showed heart failure patients experienced continued reduced all-cause mortality for 6 to 12 months and continued to have reduced heart failure-related hospitalizations.
Additional Information About Telemonitoring
It’s clear that the time has come for innovative telehealth solutions that help patients receive excellent medical care at a distance. Remote patient telemonitoring leads to positive clinical outcomes, happier patients, and thriving health systems.
This is why AMC Health helps healthcare companies move from inconsistent, periodic care to an approach that uses seamless, real-time monitoring. Our solutions empower chronic care patients while maximizing healthcare providers’ resource management.
We’re here to help healthcare feel more proactive and personal through telehealth. Schedule a demo to learn more about building better patient satisfaction and improving clinical outcomes for patients with heart failure.