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Do Remote Monitoring Tools Reduce Hospital Admissions?

By Vera Gruessner

- Remote monitoring tools have been making a major impact within the healthcare industry in recent months. The latest news comes from Partners Healthcare Connected Health where a remote monitoring program was found to reduce hospital admission rates and mortality rates among heart failure patients.

Remote Monitoring Tools

The remote monitoring tools were able to prevent hospitalization for up to 90 days and delay mortality for 120 days after hospital discharge. The Partners' Connected Cardiac Care Program lasts for four months and attempts to help heart failure patients improve their health management in order to prevent further hospitalization.

The program includes remote monitoring tools and greater education among the patient population. These findings were published in the April issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The study followed the care of 384 patients enrolled in the program. While reduced hospitalization and mortality rates were developed throughout the 120-day program, these results did not last past the four months.

“These findings suggest that our Connected Cardiac Care remote monitoring program successfully reduced hospitalization and mortality rates during the four-month program, and kept more patients alive by allowing for earlier detection of symptoms of worsening disease and just-in-time intervention,” Kamal Jethwani, MD, MPH, Senior Director of Connected Health Innovation at Partners HealthCare, said in a public statement.

When compared to the control group, the rates of both hospitalization and mortality decreased significantly among heart failure patients with the implementation of remote monitoring tools and education resources. However, after one year passed, the rates between the control group and experimental group were similar likely due to the discontinuation of the program after four months. Essentially, the rates of hospitalization rose in the remote monitoring group several months after the program was stopped.

Dr. Kamal Jethwani explained that the increased rates could be due to the complex nature of the disease and early death of patients who are at advanced stages of heart failure. Informing and educating patients about this disease and its progression may help them better identify serious symptoms and report it earlier to their physicians as compared to patients who did not receive care through remote monitoring tools.

 “Although it started nearly ten years ago as just a pilot, the Connected Cardiac Care Program has become an important clinical strategy that has improved the lives of thousands of heart failure patients.  At Partners HealthCare at Home, we strongly believe in the potential of telemonitoring to improve our ability to care for patients, as well as improve outcomes, which we have proven through this analysis,” Keren Diamond, RN, BSN, MBA, Chief Operating Officer, Partners HealthCare at Home, stated in the press release.

With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) pushing providers to reduce hospital readmission rates, these findings could prove useful in ensuring patients remain healthy once they leave the facility. New technologies continue to revolutionize the medical sector and lead to quality improvements in care. Telemedicine and remote monitoring tools could play a large role in affecting patient health outcomes for years to come.

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