Testing Telehealth for Heart Failure

NYU Langone Medical Center unrolls telehealth pilot for congestive heart failure patients

(RxWiki News) Disease management is going high tech. NYU Langone Medical Center and rehabilitation provider Jewish Home Lifecare are testing how patients with congestive heart failure can benefit from telehealth technology.

Medical providers anticipate that the remote personal health monitoring system can cut hospital re-admission for congestive heart failure patients at highest risk for re-hospitalization, and can help them manage their symptoms from home.

"Ask your doctor or therapist if they offer tele-health services."

Dr. Stuart Katz, director of the Heart Failure Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, said that re-hospitalization is a major concern for congestive heart failure patients. Complications from fluid build up that can cause swelling in the arms and legs particularly can lead to hospital admissions for such patients.

Dr. Katz said that any options to help reduce the high rate of hospital re-admission for this population and allow them to manage symptoms from home will greatly improve the quality of life for heart failure patients.

As part of the pilot study, high-risk congestive heart failure patients from NYU Langone receive a small device called the HealthBuddy that links them directly to a Jewish Home Lifecare nurse through a telephone connection. Patients are monitored through daily health assessments, and the device tracks daily responses to health questions. It also offers medical reminders and tips about managing heart failure symptoms at home.

Nurses ask customized questions and assess each patient's self health management skills, providing needed assistance to help avoid re-hospitalization. They also can call patients to medically intervene if necessary.

The study is funded by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, an organization which works to improve the health care and quality of life for the elderly in New York City.

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Review Date: 
July 22, 2011