Heart failure (HF) patients suffer from frequent and repeated hospitalizations, causing a substantial economic burden on society. Hospitalizations can be reduced considerably by better compliance with self-care. Home telemonitoring has the potential to boost patients' compliance with self-care, although the results are still contradictory.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted in order to study whether the multidisciplinary care of heart failure patients promoted with telemonitoring leads to decreased HF-related hospitalization.
HF patients were eligible whose left ventricular ejection fraction was lower than 35%, NYHA functional class =2, and who needed regular follow-up. Patients in the telemonitoring group (n=47) measured their body weight, blood pressure, and pulse and answered symptom-related questions on a weekly basis, reporting their values to the heart failure nurse using a mobile phone app. The heart failure nurse followed the status of patients weekly and if necessary contacted the patient. The primary outcome was the number of HF-related hospital days. Control patients (n=47) received multidisciplinary treatment according to standard practices. Patients' clinical status, use of health care resources, adherence, and user experience from the patients' and the health care professionals' perspective were studied.
Adherence, calculated as a proportion of weekly submitted self-measurements, was close to 90%. No difference was found in the number of HF-related hospital days (incidence rate ratio [IRR]=0.812, P=.351), which was the primary outcome. The intervention group used more health care resources: they paid an increased number of visits to the nurse (IRR=1.73, P