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Outcomes of a home telehealth intervention for patients with heart failure.

Wakefield BJ, Holman JE, Ray A, Scherubel M, Burns TL, Kienzle MG, Rosenthal GE. Outcomes of a home telehealth intervention for patients with heart failure. Journal of telemedicine and telecare. 2009 Jan 1; 15(1):46-50.

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We evaluated the efficacy of two telehealth applications, delivered by telephone and videophone, for improving outcomes of patients following hospital discharge for an acute exacerbation of heart failure. The outcomes measured were patient self-efficacy, satisfaction with care and knowledge of and compliance with prescribed medications. At hospital discharge, patients were randomly assigned to either control (usual care), telephone or videophone groups. Study nurses contacted the intervention patients each week for 90 days after discharge. A total of 148 patients were enrolled: 49 were randomized to usual care, 52 to the videophone intervention and 47 to the telephone intervention. At 90 days, 126 patients (85%) had completed follow-up; at 180 days, 109 patients (74%) had completed follow-up. There were no significant differences between the groups in medication compliance, self-efficacy or satisfaction with care. The intervention group patients were more likely to have had their medications adjusted during the 90-day intervention period. Knowledge scores improved in the intervention group patients, although these scores were lower at enrolment compared to the control group. It is possible that routine monitoring of symptoms by the study nurses led to medication adjustments and accounted for the intervention patients'' significantly delayed time to readmission relative to the control patients.

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