A controlled pilot study in the use of telemedicine in the community on the management of heart failure - a report of the first three months
De Lusignan S., Meredith K., Wells S., Leatham E., Johnson P.
This is a controlled pilot study of twenty patients to see if heart failure management can be optimised in the community using telemedicine. The study seeks to examine the feasibility, acceptability and reliability of using telemedicine in this context. Heart failure is a common condition. It is an important cause of mortality and morbidity and has large cost implications for the NHS. Most patients are managed in the U K in General Practice based on clinical assessment by the practitioner. Twenty patients with a mean age of 75.1 years and mean New York Heart Association grade of 1.75 were randomised in to two equal groups (telemonitoring and control) and observed for a period of three months. All twenty patients had a Cardiologist assessment and quality of life measurement at the beginning and end of the study. Patients in the telemedicine group had their blood pressure, pulse and weight data collected daily and undertook a weekly video conference with the nurse. Control patients had their blood pressure, weight and pulse measured at six weekly intervals. The study has been extended for a further six months beyond its initial three-month observation period to see if the initial short term benefit in the telemedicine group is maintained.