Improving the post-discharge care of chronic heart failure patients with telemonitoring services could be a promising strategy for reducing their hospital readmissions, according to a study by Advanced TeleHealth Solutions.
Improving the post-discharge care of chronic heart failure patients with telemonitoring services could be a promising strategy for reducing their hospital readmissions, according to a study by Advanced TeleHealth Solutions, a telehealth services provider.
The study found that heart failure patients whose vital signs and symptoms were monitored remotely were less likely to be readmitted and more likely to take their medications than patients in a control group. The telemonitored patients also reported a higher quality of life.
Chronic heart failure patients are at the center of a national effort to reduce hospital readmissions. Nearly one in four patients are readmitted for issues that likely were preventable. The leading cause of death in the U.S., heart failure is the most common hospital discharge diagnosis for Medicare patients, and treatment of them is among the most expensive.
"Telemonitoring services provided by nurses trained in chronic care can help reduce health care costs and keep hospital rooms free for patients with the most urgent needs," said Karen Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions. A Missouri State University researcher analyzed the data for Advanced TeleHealth Solutions.
The study evaluated 83 heart failure patients who were discharged from the hospital between February and August in 2011. Every day the patients in the telemonitoring group provided biometric information that was transmitted electronically to nurses certified in chronic care and trained to coach patients through their recovery. The nurses phoned the patients daily to discuss their specific health issues, check on their medications and coordinate care with the patients' other health care providers.
Heart failure patients often suffer from depression because their illness can seriously limit their activities, sleep and social relationships. Compared to the control group, the patients in the telemonitoring group indicated a greater quality of life, as measured by the scores on the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (MLWHF) scale, a commonly used Likert-scale patient self-assessment of how heart failure affects patients' daily lives.
About Advanced TeleHealth Solutions:
Advanced TeleHealth Solutions' turnkey scalable remote monitoring system removes traditional barriers to health care access - such as geography, mobility, and time constraints. Founded by Karen Thomas, President of Oxford HealthCare, an affiliate of Cox Health, Advanced TeleHealth Solutions delivers telemonitoring and ehealth solutions for hospitals, home health care, disease management organizations, managed care companies and other businesses. Advanced TeleHealth Solutions matches a company's healthcare needs with the best monitoring system and provides monitoring and reporting to the client. Advanced TeleHealth Solutions customizes, coordinates and delivers the right system without creating a new system, adding resources, or having start-up time involved. For more information, please visit www.advanced-telehealth.com.