At-home Telemonitoring Significantly Benefits Patients with Chronic Diseases

The condition of patients with chronic diseases improves significantly with the use of at-home tools like blood pressure and glucose monitors.

At-home telemonitoring may be beneficial for patients with hypertension, as well as other chronic diseases, according to the results of a joint study by Cleveland Clinic and Microsoft.

The pilot project provided patients with at-home blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose monitors, scales, or pedometers, depending on whether a patient had hypertension, diabetes, or heart failure. Hypertensive patients increased the number of days between their office visits by 26%, indicating “that patients had better control of their conditions.” While diabetic patients were also able to increase the amount of time between office visits, patients with heart failure actually went in for appointments more often, which the researchers said “indicates that patients were advised to see their healthcare provider in a more timely manner.”

The EMR system used by the Cleveland Clinic Hospital was paired with Microsoft’s online HealthVault service for the monitoring of patients’ conditions.

According to the researchers, nearly half of all Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, which accounts for 75% of the nation’s healthcare spending. The results of the new study could provide a new option for decreasing these costs.

“Although more research is certainly needed, the results of this observational study are promising, suggesting that at-home medical devices can help patients and doctors better track chronic conditions, coordinate treatment schedules, manage medication regimens and schedule timely interventions,” said C. Martin Harris, MD, Chief Information Officer, Cleveland Clinic. “Ultimately, such improvements make for more efficient healthcare, healthier patients and possibly a reduction in healthcare costs.”

The researchers also believe that this kind of technology, and the other forms like it that are in development, could eventually result in healthcare activities that are normally performed in a physician’s office being performed wherever the patient is.

“Making it easier for patients to more actively engage in their ongoing health and wellness is a necessary step in trying to manage the increasing onset of chronic disease worldwide and the costs associated with this alarming trend,” said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. “The results of this pilot are promising and demonstrate how cost-effective and flexible technology solutions can support patients in better monitoring their chronic conditions from where they live and work.”