Study: Mobile App Helps Cut Cardiac ED Visits, Readmissions by 40%

April 2, 2014 in News

The use of a smartphone application in cardiac rehabilitation helped reduce emergency department visits and hospital readmissions by 40%, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic, MobiHealthNews reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic designed an online and smartphone-based mobile application aimed at helping patients undergoing rehabilitation for stent placements following heart attacks.

According to MobiHealthNews, the app had two key functions:

  • Tracking patients’ blood pressure, dietary and sugar levels, physical activity and weight; and
  • Providing educational content, including showing patients ways they could help prevent another cardiac-related issue.

The three-month study included 44 patients, 25 of whom used the smartphone app, while the remaining 19 underwent regular cardiac rehabilitation.

The study, which was funded by the BIRD Foundation, was recently presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Study Findings

The researchers found that about 20% of patients who used the app were either readmitted to the hospital or admitted to an ED within 90 days, compared with about 60% of patients who received traditional rehab.

Researchers also found that patients using the app:

  • Weighed an average of nine pounds less than the control group; and
  • Had an average blood pressure that was around 8 mmHg lower than the control group.

In addition, the study identified a correlation between how often patients used the app and their levels of improvement on most metrics.

Lead researcher R. Jay Widmer said, “The takeaway is that digital health, mobile health, can be used for cardiovascular disease prevention, especially in a high risk group.”

Widmer noted that a larger trial will follow the study, and several groups — including the Department of Veterans Affairs — have expressed interest in incorporating the tool into their cardiac rehabilitation programs (Comstock, MobiHealthNews, 4/1).

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