News Feature | April 15, 2016

Cardiac Patients Reap Benefits Of Digital Health

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Heart Failure Algorithm

Digital health tools use was shown to help patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation lose significantly more weight than those without the help of the same tools.

According to a Mayo Clinic research trial, cardiac patients lost significantly more weight when their cardiac rehabilitation programs were supplemented with digital health tools. “The patients readily accepted the technology in both the Web-based and mobile platforms. These technologies have been shown to have a proven outcomes benefit on these types of patients, and should be implemented where available,” lead study author Robert Jay Widmer, Ph.D., of the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email interview.

Over the course of 12 weeks, patients were monitored as they continued programs which promote a proactive healthy lifestyle and improve heart health. Patients in the trial, using digital health tools such as a smartphone app and Web portal to track weight, dietary habits, and gain information on cardiovascular health, lost four times as much weight.

“We were surprised by the magnitude of difference between the two groups,” said Widmer in an announcement. “These results are exciting because they demonstrate improvement in cardiovascular risk factors over and above guideline-based cardiac rehabilitation.”

The Mayo Clinic team, rather than using commercially available mobile health solutions, gathered information and recommendations typically given during cardiac rehab then teamed up with Mayo Clinic's Information Technology department to incorporate it into an app and Web-based program that patients could use remotely.

“With the poor rates of adherence to cardiac rehabilitation and increasing use of mobile/digital technologies, it is plausible that digital health and mHealth could offer a proven preventative solution to help patients with cardiovascular disease,” Widmer said. “The integration of technology into the clinical practice has the potential to affect rehospitalizations of these patients too.”