Home monitoring gives heart failure patients boost

By Bernie Monegain
10:03 AM

Heart failure patients who used an interactive telehealth system with motivational support tools at home spent less time in the hospital and reported their quality of life had significantly improved over 12 months evaluation period, according to a new study.

The research, called CARME (CAtalan Remote Management Evaluation) was conducted at the Spanish Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, and supported by Royal Philips Electronics, The Netherlands-based conglomerate that is the parent company of Andover, Mass.-based Philips Healthcare.

This is the first time that a telehealth system combining remote patient monitoring with motivational educational support tools has been researched, and the results demonstrate significant additional value and effectiveness for managing the health of chronically ill heart failure patients, according to Philips.

Previous studies have analyzed the advantages of telehealth in terms of patient care, decrease in hospital admissions and cost savings. The CARME study demonstrates the additional benefit for patients of including remote educational and motivational tools to improve their quality of life.
The study monitored 92 patients with severe heart failure at home, managed by the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol Heart Failure Clinic. The interactive telehealth system Philips Motiva was used to connect patients to their healthcare providers via their home television and a broadband Internet connection.

Patients can take vital measurements in their homes and communicate the information to their physician via the system, and they can also receive educational and motivational information from their physician to help manage their health.

"The concept of providing educational support to heart failure patients via their television has significantly contributed to empowering them," said Josep Lupon, MD, head of the Heart Failure Unit and main researcher of the study. "Equally important, the CARME study has shown that disseminating patient and disease specific information via the TV, through Philips Motiva, helps family members to gain a better understanding of how to effectively support their loved ones in coping with their disease. This appears to have a very strong impact on outcomes."

The research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology's Heart Failure Congress 2010 in Berlin.

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