- Remote health monitoring continues to be an important method of care among physicians and other healthcare professionals who have included the practice among their heart disease patient base. Nonetheless, many doctors continue the follow-up appointment instead of using remote health monitoring tools after a patient has had a cardiac device installed through surgery.
In a study published in the Telemedicine and e-Health journal, researchers compare the typical follow-up appointment to that of immediately using remote health monitoring technology among patients with heart disease.
The researchers looked at the benefits of remote health monitoring alongside of office visits and follow-up care as compared to these services without the home-based monitoring tools. Also, the study focused on overall health outcomes as well as patient satisfaction.
“Data were collected in four moments: two in-office visits and two remote evaluations, reproducing 1 year of clinical follow-up. Data sources included health records, implant reports, initial demographic data collection, follow-up printouts, and a questionnaire,” the paper related.
“Clinically, 15 events were detected (9 by remote monitoring and 6 by patient-initiated activation), of which only 9 were symptomatic. We verified that remote monitoring could detect both symptomatic and asymptomatic events, whereas patient-initiated activation only detected symptomatic ones (p=0.028).”
Among the clinical subjects, 15 patients from 63 to 74 years old were followed who exhibited 15 separate cardiac events. These events were detected via remote health monitoring technology and patient-initiated activation.
By administering a survey, the researchers uncovered high levels of patient satisfaction. A total of 67 percent of clinical subjects stated having high satisfaction ratings with the use of remote health monitoring while 33 percent stated having very high satisfaction with these technologies.
While it seems that remote monitoring tools were favored among the patients, the findings reveal that the trial participants may actually prefer face-to-face contact over the technology. The results show that 53 percent of patients stated favoring in-office visits despite the benefits of remote health monitoring.
Another finding from the study illustrates that follow-up costs for patients were reduced by 25 percent with the inclusion of health tracking tools. As such, the researchers recommend the use of remote health monitoring among patients who have had a medical device installed.
Another similar study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, describes how remote health monitoring could provide a safer, more effective method of care capable of reducing rising medical costs.
The study looks at 200 heart failure patients with defibrillators and analyzes the benefits of remote monitoring among this patient population. The researchers followed the group of trial participants for 16 months to determine how both remote monitoring and routine follow-up appointments affected health outcomes.
Once again, study results show that remote monitoring technology can reduce patients’ annual healthcare costs. However, among medical systems, remote health monitoring did not make a significant impact in cutting spending, the study reports.
Essentially, due to the patients’ reduced spending, the researchers conclude that remote monitoring does seem to be cost-effective among patients with implantable defibrillators when compared to solely traditional, in-person care.
“Two hundred patients implanted with a wireless transmission–enabled implantable defibrillator were randomized to receive either remote monitoring or the conventional method of in-person evaluations,” the research study explained. “The economic evaluation of the intervention was conducted from the perspectives of the health care system and the patient. A cost-utility analysis was performed to measure whether the intervention was cost-effective in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.”
“Results from the cost-utility analysis of the EVOLVO study show that remote monitoring is a cost-effective and dominant solution.”