Study: Mobile phone-based heart failure monitoring convenient, easy to use | MobiHealthNews

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A recently published study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that mobile phone-based heart failure telemonitoring was an easy to use solution that offered immediate feedback to both patients and clinicians. The small study -- just 22 heart failure patients used the mobile phone-based monitoring system for six months -- required patients to take daily weight and blood pressure readings along with weekly single-lead ECGs and daily symptom questionnaires.

Five participating cardiologists also received alerts to their mobile phones.

Study: Mobile phone-based heart failure monitoring convenient, easy to use | MobiHealthNews

Of the 22 participating patients, 17 did not have an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) so they were provided with an ECG recorder and asked to take weekly recordings. Weight and blood pressure were recorded by a weight scale and blood pressure monitor developed by A&D Medical. ECG recordings were taken by SelfCheck ECG PMP4, developed by LifeWatch's CardGuard. These were automatically sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to a BlackBerry Pearl 8130 smartphone developed by Research in Motion. The data was then sent to a software application on the BlackBerry device where it was displayed and stored before being transmitted to a data repository accessed by the hospital.

The patients found the mobile phone-based telemonitoring system to be easy to use, even very elderly patients -- one was 88 years old -- as well as those with no prior mobile phone experience were able to successfully use the telemonitoring system, according to the researchers. The researchers noted that some patients took about a week to get comfortable using the system and many patients had family members who helped them when necessary.

Did the fact that it was mobile make a difference? The researchers noted that patients said the portability of the mobile phone-based telemonitoring system was useful, because it could be taken on vacation. Also, researchers noted that the website for the study "was seldom used by patients" and that only 13 patients ever logged onto the website.

The clinicians also liked the portability of the mobile phone-based telemonitoring system, because they could monitor their patients from anywhere: "One of the cardiologists’ main concerns was the potential lack of time to respond to alerts, due to their busy schedules, if the telemonitoring system was permanently integrated into the clinic. They suggested a nurse practitioner manage the alerts, instead of a cardiologist," the researchers noted.

Check out the full report over at JMIR here.