Telemonitoring keeps heart failure patients out of ER

Remote monitoring can be effective in way to reduce emergency room visits for heart failure patients with implantable defibrillators, according to new research published in Circulation. For the study, researchers in Italy compared remote monitoring to standard management in 200 patients over a period of 16 months.

Researchers determined there to be 35 percent fewer ED visits by the patients monitored remotely when compared to those receiving standard care. What's more, while clinical status was similar for the two groups, improved quality of life was found among those monitored remotely.

The research contrasts with work from the Mayo Clinic and Purdue University, which monitored 205 older adults at high risk for rehospitalization due to multiple health issues, according to a study published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Telemonitoring included daily biometrics of blood pressure and weight, symptom reporting and videoconferencing.

That study found no difference in the hospitalization, emergency department visit and hospital day rates between those monitored remotely and those who received usual care. In fact, the mortality rate was higher among those using telemonitoring (14.7 percent) than those receiving standard care (3.9 percent).

However, several previous studies tend to back the Circulation results. For example, research by Geisinger Health Plan, though not limited to elderly patients, found that telemonitoring using interactive voice response resulted in a 44 percent reduction in readmissions of patients with congestive heart failure. Saint Vincent Health System in Erie, Pa., also boasted reduced readmissions--and a 100 percent return on investment--as a result of using telemedicine technology.

Additionally, a large British study published in late 2011 found that remote monitoring cut emergency admission by 20 percent and reduced mortality rates by 45 percent. The study tracked nearly 6,200 patients in three cities suffering from one of three primary conditions: diabetes, heart failure or COPD.

To learn more:
- here's the Circulation abstract
- read the CMIO article

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