Remote care nurses make difference in home self-monitoring for chronic illness

Home self-monitoring with the support of a remote care nurse is effective in empowering patients with chronic illness in their own healthcare, according to a new study published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

In the study, researchers from the University of Hawaii interviewed 33 patients who used technology to self-monitor their health at home to identify facilitators and barriers of care, and evaluate their satisfaction with home telehealth self-monitoring. Patients reported high levels of satisfaction overall--they received efficient feedback, could identify changes in their health status, and also experienced enhanced accountability, self-efficacy and motivation to change their health behaviors.

In the study, one participant said of the home self-monitoring, "…That's what it does, it empowers you to take control over your life because it's all happening to you…I'm taking 15, 16 medications. It's very overwhelming. So that allows me to feel like I'm in control of the situation, because it's really scary. You don't know what's going on."

The biggest issue participants encountered was problems with the software used for monitoring; another was feeling too sick or weak to participate.

The practice instilled hope and promoted a better quality of life, study authors wrote: "The success of home telehealth relies heavily on patient adherence to a prescribed program. Responses from the structured surveys and semi-structured interviews indicated a high level of satisfaction."

Despite the promise of remote patient monitoring to cut healthcare costs and improve patient care, the research methods behind those claims were called into question in a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in late July. Juniper Research recently predicted that remote patient monitoring would cut healthcare costs up to $36 billion worldwide over the next five years.

However, home telemonitoring, when combined with pharmacist case management, was found to help improve high blood pressure management for patients with the chronic condition, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July.

To learn more:
- read the study in Telemedicine and e-Health

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