Marlien Varnfield, Mohanraj Karunanithi, Chi-Keung Lee, Enone Honeyman, Desre Arnold, Hang Ding, Catherine Smith, Darren L Walters

What’s the research –
Despite clinical practice recommendations for cardiac rehabilitation (CR), these programs are underused globally. The reasons include factors from patient-level through to healthcare system barriers. We undertook a randomised study to test whether an e-Health solution, to offer a home-based CR program, could improve participation in such programs. The aim of introducing a new model of care was not to replace traditional centre-based CR programs, but to offer more flexible options to patients.

Why it’s important –
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Advancements in acute CVD treatment have resulted in high prevalence of patients living with CVD who are at high risk of recurrence and mortality. Strong evidence demonstrates that outpatient models of CR for secondary CVD prevention reduces mortality, morbidity and risk factors, and improves quality of life. The findings of our study on delivering CR to post-heart attack patients in their own homes were remarkable, not only in the improvement of rehabilitation uptake but also adherence and completion rates. Moreover, these home-based patients demonstrated similar improvements in clinical outcomes as centre-based patients.

What have we learned –
Smartphone-based home care model improves use of cardiac rehabilitation in post-myocardial infarction patients. e-Health is reshaping the way doctors and medical professionals work or interact between themselves and with their patients. Our research provides compelling, initial evidence that smartphone-based CR can improve utilisation, and result in health outcomes similar to supervised CR programs. The potential of a flexible e-Health solution to CR is great, particularly in low-resource settings, and rural and remote areas lacking infrastructure; however, not enough feasibility studies in these contexts exist to date.

Who should read this paper –
Cardiologists and other healthcare professionals providing care to individuals living with chronic heart disease or other chronic conditions; public health searchers; technicians; industry partners, health authorities and regulators, alike, will learn from this research.

To read the entire journal article, click here.

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Smartphone-based home care model improves use of cardiac rehabilitation in post-myocardial infarction patients