by Michael Essany – mHealthWatch
According to recent information from the American College of Cardiology, digital health tools may play a vital role in helping cardiac rehab patients get back on their feet.
Adding a digital health tool to traditional cardiac rehabilitation appears to help people recovering from a heart attack lose significantly more weight in a relatively short period of time, according to the research summary shared with MHW.
In fact, patients using specially designed health tools on their smartphones and through a Web-based portal lost four times as much weight compared with those undergoing 12 weeks of cardiac rehabilitation alone. This randomized controlled trial is the first in the U.S. to look at how adding the use of mobile and wireless devices concurrently with cardiac rehab might improve health outcomes, according to researchers.
“We were surprised by the magnitude of difference between the two groups,” said Robert Jay Widmer, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, and lead author of the study. “These results are exciting because they demonstrate improvement in cardiovascular risk factors over and above guideline-based cardiac rehabilitation.”
“While the actual weight loss observed in this study was small–an average of 2 pounds in the cardiac rehab group compared with 9 pounds in the digital health intervention group–experts say every bit matters for these patients as previous research has shown that people who lose weight tend to have fewer cardiac events in the future,” the announcement reads.
Instead of using commercially available mobile health solutions, cardiologists at Mayo Clinic compiled information and recommendations typically given during cardiac rehab to help patients strengthen their heart health and improve cardiovascular risk factors to prevent subsequent events. They then partnered with Mayo Clinic’s Information Technology department to incorporate it into an app and Web-based program that patients could use remotely.
“It’s an example of how clinical expertise and know-how can be married with IT, which is important especially amid consumers’ rapid uptake of apps,” Widmer said. “It may be that these patients felt more connected to their care, as if someone had a finger on their pulse, figuratively.”