Smartphone app proves valuable for cardiac patients

A new study reveals using a smartphone app during cardiac rehabilitation can help reduce the potential of hospital re-admittance in the first 90 days of recovery.

According to a Mayo Clinic Research team, software that lets patients record recovery activities and monitors vitals can cut return hospital visits by 40 percent. The researchers conducted a study of 44 patients and just 20 percent of those using the app were re-admitted to a hospital within three months of rehab, compared to 60 percent who did not use the mobile tool during recovery.

"We know from studies that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation lower their risks significantly for another cardiac event and for rehospitalization," said Amir Lerman, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist and senior study author, in an announcement. "We wanted to see if offering patients a smartphone app, in addition to their cardiac rehab, would increase their ability to reduce their risk even further."

The news comes as mobile healthcare apps steadily flow into the medical environment with promises of spurring recovery, reducing caretaker inefficiencies and saving money for users, payers and providers. University of Cambridge researchers have developed a new smartphone app that promises to enhance the accuracy of colorimetric tests for diabetes, kidney disease and urinary tract infections. New research reveals just one single gaming session can reduce acute stress responses when used in attention-bias modification training (ABMT).

The Mayo Clinic study divided cardiac patients who had suffered a heart attack and undergone a stent placement, into two groups. One group of 25 was given the app and asked to use it every day, while the 19 in a control group did not have app access. The app, which was available via a smartphone or a PC, let users record weight fluctuations, blood pressure readings, physical activity, blood sugar levels and dietary data. The app also provided users with educational activities geared to living a healthy lifestyle.

"Results of this study reinforce the importance of cardiac rehab," said R. Jay Widmer, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic fellow and study author. "We hope a tool like this will help us extend the reach of cardiac rehab to all heart patients, but, in particular, it could help patients in rural and underserved populations who might not be able to attend cardiac rehab."

For more information:
- read the announcement from Mayo Clinic

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