Researchers Find Remote Patient Monitoring Fails To Improve Heart Failure Outcomes


The American Heart Association’s 2015 Scientific Sessions are being held this week in Orlando, FL. The conference draws an audience of researchers, public health officials, and front-line cardiologists working to curb some of the nation’s most costly diseases. During the conference, a team of researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA presented findings from a randomized control trial measuring changes to readmission rates and mortality rates when remote patient monitoring solutions designed to supplement heart failure treatment were used. The researchers delivered disappointing news at the conference. Their study showed that the use of remote monitoring technology and regular phone calls from a heart failure coach resulted in no meaningful improvements to either 30-day readmission rates or six-month mortality rates.

Heart failure has long been targeted as an ideal candidate for remote patient monitoring because of the significant toll it takes on society, and because monitoring the disease involves trending a small number of easily captured metrics, namely weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. Based on this premise, researchers recruited 1,400 patients receiving conventional treatment for heart failure. The participants were randomly split into two groups, one that received remote monitoring technology and phone calls from coaches, and a second group that received the current standard heart failure disease management protocol. 

For those in the remote patient monitoring group, each patient was outfitted with a wireless scale and wireless blood pressure/heart rate monitor that sent readings to a central database where heart failure coaches trended results across the population. If key thresholds in these metrics were met, coaches would be alerted and would then call the patients to help them address the issue. Above and beyond this remote monitoring, each patient received regularly scheduled calls from the coaches. After six months, researchers looked at how the two groups performed and found no difference in 180-day readmission rates or 180-day mortality rates. Further, researchers found no difference in 30-day readmission rates, a key quality metric that impacts hospital revenue.

Researchers found that individuals who recorded their weight, blood pressure, and heart rate every other day or more had much better outcomes than those that inconsistently monitored their status, leading the team to conclude that regardless of technology, poor adherence to treatment plans remains a major barrier to improved outcomes.

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