So many studies show how telemonitoring of CHF patients can improve their health outcomes.  Here’s another as reported by

Mobile Apps Help Ease Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

A UCLA study suggests that linking mobile sensors that monitor
physiological functions and physical activities to smartphones may help reduce
the risk of rehospitalization.

By Neil Versel, June 20, 2011
Wireless sensors that monitor  physiological functions and physical activities can help reduce symptoms of  congestive heart failure and potentially prevent many hospital readmissions, a  new study suggests.

Researchers at the UCLA Wireless Health Institute and the UCLA School of Nursing found a small but statistically significant reductions in  abnormal readings of weight and blood pressure among elderly patients who had  access to wireless, mobile monitors and regular feedback from physicians. They  reported their findings in the  Journal of Medical Systems.

Virtual desktop infrastructure is one of the hottest virtualization trends  today. Buy why?
Using a UCLA-developed system called WANDA (Weight and Activity with Blood  Pressure Monitoring), the researchers were able to reduce the frequency of  readings outside an acceptable range for weight and blood pressure by 5.6%.  Participants had to have been hospitalized for a CHF-related illness within 30  days of enrollment in the study, and all were at least 65 years old.

That may not sound like a big improvement, but the UCLA team said even a  reduction of 5.6% could have a major impact on patient quality of life and  healthcare spending.

CHF is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 282,754 people in 2006  alone, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics cited  in the article. About 670,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with CHF every  year, and the disease is responsible for $29 billion in annual medical expenses,  the study said. In Europe, 24% of hospitalized CHF patients reportedly are  readmitted within 12 weeks of discharge.

“Experts and researchers in cardiac medicine suggest monitoring and tracking  patients’ symptoms on an everyday basis in order to prevent emergencies,” the  paper said. “However, patients often lack the motivation to exercise and/or  monitor their own health related measurements. Hence, a remote health monitoring  system with medical oversight should serve useful for observing patients with  CHF.

In addition, remote health monitoring systems are extremely cost effective  due to the availability of inexpensive monitoring devices and infrastructure.” This study stands in stark contrast to earlier research that relied on  antiquated technology such as faxing and on workflow shortcomings. That approach  did not allow clinicians to make timely interventions and help modify unhealthy  behaviors, the UCLA team said. In particular, a much-maligned 2010 article in the New  England Journal of Medicine dismissed the potential of “telemonitoring” even  though that study asked patients to phone in their readings regularly. After six  months, only 55% of patients even bothered to report as often as three times a  week.

“In order to design an effective remote health monitoring system for CHF, it  is important to make an automated real-time system for checking important values  such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate, daily activity, and symptom  responses. A system must send a reminder to patients to reduce gaps in the  dataset. In addition, the system should be in real-time to ensure the timely delivery of data to physicians,” the UCLA study said.

The UCLA Wireless Health Institute and the nursing school designed WANDA on  three tiers of technology. Sensors monitor patient health, take relevant  measurements, and transmit readings to the second tier, made up of Web servers  to store and analyze data. The third tier is a database server for backup and  recovery purposes.

They built two versions of the first tier, one for elderly and  less-technically proficient patients that sends data over standard phone lines and a second, mobile version that works with Apple’s iPhone and the Android smartphone operating system, to transmit data to the server via Wi-Fi or 3G cellular networks.

WANDA takes measurements of weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and physical activity, and incorporates the heart failure somatic awareness scale (HFSAS), which tracks measures 12 metrics related to awareness of CHF symptoms. These include elevated heart rate, chest pains, swollen feet, and shortness of breath. Should anything be abnormal or should users simply fail to take the necessary readings, the automated system sends a text message to help get patients back on track.

“Wireless health technologies, including pervasive sensors and wireless communications, can potentially help CHF patients through daily monitoring along with guidance and feedback,” the study concludes. “Patients who have cardiovascular system disorders can measure their weight, blood pressure, activity, and other health related measurements by using wireless health applications whenever and wherever they need to. A wireless health system gives real-time and computer-based analysis, reducing the need for specialist visits. This remote real-time care prevents emergency situations and alerts caregivers
when they must help patients.”

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments
    © 2019 mTelehealth, Inc. All rights reserved.