Mayo researchers: Digital tools reduce secondary cardiac illness issues

Smartphone apps, text messaging and other digital technologies can decrease recurrence of cardiovascular illness and help those with cardiovascular disease have a healthier life, reveals an in-depth analysis of research studies.

The most effective digital tools are text messaging, Web portals and telemedicine, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The research analysis, conducted by a Mayo Clinic research team, involved 51 studies conducted between 2003 and 2013 in North America, Europe and Asia. The studies included 24,054 cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients using digital health tools and 10,333 receiving traditional healthcare without such tools, according the Journal report. The clinic's research team report was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"Digital health interventions significantly reduced CVD outcomes," according to the Mayo report's abstract, citing a 1.24 percent decrease in cardio vascular patients' Framingham risk score, a measurement that estimates the 10-year risk of a person's first heart attack.

The research team determined that digital technology reduced secondary adverse medical issues, which occur after an initial cardio incident, by 40 percent. That decrease exceeds traditional medical treatments such as aspirin, statins and blood pressure medication, according to the WSJ report.

The findings align with other digital health technology pilot programs, such as a Massachusetts hospital's trial of a mobile platform that reduced readmissions for congestive heart patients. Additionally, a tablet-app effort is cutting re-admission rates for Penn Medicine heart failure patients.

The studies reviewed by the Mayo Clinic research team included a wide range of research focus points, from the use of digital tools for preventing an initial heart attack and stroke to how technology is helping patients avoid a second cardio event. Some studies examined how tools, such as a smartphone app, can be used to help track blood sugar and how digital communications, such as texting, can boost medication adherence.

For more information:
- check out the Mayo Clinic study abstract
- read the Wall Street Journal article

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