Docs, patients share optimism for remote patient monitoring

With a desire to enter the 21st Century when it comes to keeping tabs on heart failure patients with mobile phone-based remote monitoring systems, both doctors and patients believe that such systems can be successful, according to a small Canadian-based study published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research

"Heart failure management requires several different parameters to be monitored, resulting in greater complexity, and a delayed response to a worsening heart failure condition could have critical consequences," the study's authors write. "Furthermore, the average heart failure patient is often older than patients with other chronic illnesses, which could result in them being less willing and able to use certain technologies." 

The questionnaires required patients to rate eight statements such as "I need to weigh myself at home everyday" and "I feel confident that I could use a computer to look up my health information if shown how to do it" on a 5-point scale ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." Those patients indicated that they felt more comfortable using a mobile phone than a computer, although overall, they had relatively no qualms about using either. The patients also indicated that they believed their information would be secure and private if accessible online. 

Patients who were interviewed in-person said that they were willing to try using remote monitoring system, but asked that it be "as easy to use as possible." However, they also made clear that the system should be in addition to a doctor-patient relationship, not in place of one. The doctors interviewed shared many of the same views as the patients interviewed, but were worried about the "additional human resources [that] would be required at the clinic, such as a nurse practitioner, to respond to the alerts at all times." 

"If the concerns voiced by the patients and clinicians are first addressed, mobile phone-based remote monitoring could be a relatively inexpensive and convenient tool to improve heart failure management," the authors conclude. 

To learn more:
- here's the study