Around 6.2 million Americans suffer from heart failure (HF), a chronic condition that prevents the heart from pumping enough oxygen into the body. This impaired cardiac function leads to other diseases and malfunctions, decreases life expectancy, and worsens the quality of life. Luckily, due to the global implementation of telehealth, ever-improving medical device technologies, and effective heart failure management with use of telemonitoring, medical providers can effectively supervise the HF-related biological parameters and adjust treatment. Let’s review the importance of telemonitoring in heart failure treatment, challenges that a medical provider faces during current monitoring practices and those during the adoption of telemonitoring in heart failure management, and how Empeek can make remote patient monitoring a norm in your practice.
Challenges in Monitoring Patients with Heart Failure
Finding an effective treatment for congestive or chronic heart failure means improving the quality of life and increasing the life expectancy of more than 6.2 million people in the USA alone. Monitoring certain biological parameters is the basic step to do it. To show you that it’s an urgent matter, as well as a market opportunity, we’ve gathered recent statistics from the American Heart Association reports, heart failure clinics, and ongoing HF research.
- Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization worldwide
- 13.4% of deaths in the USA are caused by HF
- 64.34 million cases – current global prevalence of HF
- 20-25% of hospital readmissions within 30 days are patients with HF, and almost 50% of patients are hospitalized within the year after initial admission
- 346.17 billion USD – global expenditure for managing and treating patients with HF
- 915,000 new cases of HF are diagnosed annually
The statistic shows the urgent need for developing consistent and effective HF treatment management. Where to start? With measuring and controlling the clinical variables such as heart pressure, heart rhythm, oxygen saturation level, implantable cardiac devices performance, etc. And here both patients and doctors face a few challenges.
- Lack of awareness regarding the HF risk factors. Most people with high HF risk don’t know they are in a risk group or live a lifestyle that increases their chance of HF development.
- Lack of accessibility. Not all patients have timely access to medical aid due to their location, social status, insurance coverage, etc.
- Poor education regarding how to properly measure the needed parameters.
- High cost of in-patient monitoring implementation
- Restricted mobility due to COVID-19 pandemic
The good news is that there is a way to respond to these challenges by adopting telemonitoring technologies. These include sensors, mobile applications, software that connect the patients with the doctors and system, invasive monitoring of implantable devices, and so on. While telemedicine for patients with heart failure has just started to become a global norm, it already shows its efficacy. So what are the benefits of telemonitoring in the care of patients with heart failure?
Benefits of Telemonitoring in the Care of Patients with Heart Failure
With so many factors that influence the HF patient’s condition, it’s natural to ask the most important question: what can be telemonitored in heart failure patients? Below is the list:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Oxygen saturation level
- Heart rhythm
- Central venous and pulmonary arterial pressure (invasive telemonitoring via implantable devices)
The tricky part is that the results of telemonitoring have value when they are structured, analyzed, and powered with algorithms capable of recognizing the negative pattern. This is the reason for implementing the holistic telemonitoring infrastructure that connects the patient’s data, patient, providers, and medical care personnel to ensure access to data, its interpretation, and quick response. In our previous article, we explored how IT companies transform cardiac care with remote monitoring now, let’s discover the effects of telemonitoring on patients with heart failure.
Decrease of Hospital Readmission Rate
The patients who were telemonitored regularly showed fewer HF-related admissions to the hospitals, especially those who needed urgent care. Analyzing the result from the sensors and apps can alarm about the negative changes in the organism before it causes life-threatening conditions.
Predicting the Emerging Acute Cardiac Decompensation
Another thing where telemonitoring in patients with heart failure serves well is detecting the acute cardiac decompensation risks. Monitoring the patients’ weight over a certain time helps in evaluating the decompensation occurrence risk and planning proper medical intervention.
Providing Specialists with Real-Time Data
This is especially useful for patients with implanted cardiac devices (ICDs). Being able to track their activity and performance will allow the doctor to better assess the patient’s condition and prescribe the proper treatment or plan the change of the device that is monitored.
Increasing the Patient’s Role in Treatment
Despite heart diseases being the leading causes of death in the USA, many people, including those diagnosed with HF, have poor knowledge of HF symptoms, treatment, and measures that can prevent one from developing it. Being involved in the telemonitoring process either by regular interviewing by a specialist nurse, controlling the measurements from the sensors and providing them to your doctor, or changing one’s habits to ensure a better quality of life increases awareness of the patient of his role in improving the outcomes.
Managing the Patients Flow & Plan Interventions
This is among the top benefits of telemonitoring in heart failure management, especially for larger clinics and hospitals. Observing changes in the patient’s medical conditions allows clinics to identify the risk group, plan intervention, prepare for patient’s hospitalization and emergency care, manage doctors’ workload, etc.
The value of telemonitoring and telemedicine in heart failure management is obvious as when used consistently, it will improve the patient’s outcome and treatment quality. It comes, however, with challenges you need to know before adopting it. Read about them below to have a strategy in advance.
Challenges of Implementing Telemonitoring and Telemedicine in Heart Failure Management
The implementation challenges usually revolve around its costs, change of cooperation dynamic between patients and doctors, data privacy, equipment and software quality, Let’s review them in more detail.
Every case is unique and so is its budget. While we can’t name the exact number, we can tell the factors that will influence it. They are the type of product, development time, the technology used, integrating it with the existing system or setting up from scratch, etc. Taking into account the benefits it has, it might be a solid investment into your business to make it more market-competitive.
Change of Patient-Doctor Approach
When your practice has telemonitoring in place, it changes the dynamics of patient-doctor interaction and makes it all patient-centric. It will also require familiarizing the patients with the new procedures and engaging with them.
As sensors and various ICD collect the patient’s health information, its management should follow all the state and federal law requirements. The failure to do so may cause plenty of legal troubles, which is why you always should talk about it with your developers. We have an article that will give you a basic understanding of data handling in medical IoT.
Yes, handling these challenges can be burdensome if you don’t have a team that can create a telemonitoring system without compromising your provider’s reputation and company’s credibility. Luckily, Empeek has enough experience and knowledge base to get the project done.
How Can Empeek Help?
With our experience in developing real-time wireless medical monitoring software, HIPAA-compliant EHR system, and other medical apps and software, we can create the needed telemonitoring solutions, customize and integrate them into your clinical management system. We know the importance of complying with the US standards and legal requirements of PHI collecting and data storage, and have expertise in working with US healthcare providers. Add to that a dedicated team of professionals and you get everything you need to change your approach to treating patients with heart failure.
The use of telemonitoring for the patients with heart failure is a growing trend in the healthcare industry that also shows plenty of benefits for patients, doctors, and hospital managers. Keeping track of physiologic parameters using sensors, apps, hard and software helps to collect the information on a regular basis and its interpretation, decrease the need for urgent readmissions, manage the workflow, predict crisis intervention, and improve the quality care of patients with HF. Empeek team is here to provide a customized telemonitoring solution that will improve your clients’ experience with your business and add value to the services you offer.