Med schools, Cedars-Sinai test wireless monitoring to reduce readmissions

Five University of California medical schools plus Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles will study how wireless technologies and telephone care management can reduce the number of hospital readmissions for patients with heart failure, thanks to a $9.9 million Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant.

The three-year grant will support a three-part, randomized trial of how hospitals manage the transition from inpatient to ambulatory care with telephone consultations, by wireless patient monitoring and with "standard" care, according to UCLA. The school's David Geffen School of Medicine and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center are among six UCLA institutions participating in the study.

"This funding is critical if we're to learn how to reinvent healthcare in the United States," Dr. Tom Rosenthal, chief medical officer at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, says in a press release. Rosenthal says the team wants to find new care methods that can be replicated even in communities without major teaching hospitals.

"Heart failure patients have high rates of hospital readmissions, and a critical window for preventing readmissions is as the patient transitions from the inpatient to outpatient setting," adds principal investigator Dr. Michael Ong, assistant professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine. "This project compares two approaches designed to help patients make a smooth transition from inpatient to outpatient care. We will compare whether each approach reduces readmissions among heart failure patients at six different medical centers."

Ong also led a prior study involving the five UC medical schools and Cedars-Sinai that examined utilization rates and outcomes among patients with heart failure. UCLA says the AHRQ grant will help build on that work.

The AHRQ funding is part of the agency's Clinical and Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness (CHOICE) program, supported by a $473 million pool of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In addition to UCLA and Cedars, participants include UC medical schools at the Davis, Irvine, San Diego and San Francisco campuses.

For greater detail:
- see this UCLA press release