Introduction: Patients with Heart failure (HF) experience frequent decompensation necessitating multiple emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. If patients are able to receive timely interventions and optimize self-management, recurrent ED visits may be reduced. In this feasibility study, we piloted the application of home telemonitoring to support the discharge of HF patients from hospital to home. We hypothesized that TEC4Home would decrease ED revisits and hospital admissions and improve patient health outcomes. Methods: Upon discharge from the ED or hospital, patients with HF received a blood pressure cuff, weight scale, pulse oximeter, and a touchscreen tablet. Participants submitted measurements and answered questions on the tablet about their HF symptoms daily for 60 days. Data were reviewed by a monitoring nurse. From November 2016 to July 2017, 69 participants were recruited from Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), St. Pauls Hospital (SPH) and Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). Participants completed pre-surveys at enrollement and post-surveys 30 days after monitoring finished. Administrative data related to ED visits and hospital admissions were reviewed. Interviews were conducted with the monitoring nurses to assess the impact of monitoring on patient health outcomes. Results: A preliminary analysis was conducted on a subsample of participants (n=22) enrolled across all 3 sites by March 31, 2017. At VGH and SPH (n=14), 25% fewer patients required an ED visit in the post-survey reporting compared to pre-survey. During the monitoring period, the monitoring nurse observed seven likely avoided ED admissions due to early intervention. In total, admissions were reduced by 20% and total hospital length of stay reduced by 69%. At KGH (n=8), 43% fewer patients required an ED visit in the post-survey reporting compared to the pre-survey. Hospital admissions were reduced by 20% and total hospital length of stay reduced by 50%. Overall, TEC4Home participants from all sites showed a significant improvement in health-related quality of life and in self-care behaviour pre- to 90 days post-monitoring. A full analysis of the 69 patients will be complete in February 2018. Conclusion: Preliminary findings indicate that home telemonitoring for HF patients can decrease ED revisits and improve patient experience. The length of stay data may also suggest the potential for early discharge of ED patients with home telemonitoring to avoid or reduce hospitalization. A stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial of TEC4Home in 22 BC communities will be conducted in 2018 to generate evidence and scale up the service in urban, regional and rural communities. This work is submitted on behalf of the TEC4Home Healthcare Innovation Community.
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