Study shows that telecardiac rehab can help adherence, exercise capacity

The study focused on evaluating clinical and physiological results, in addition to patient adherence, as a means for assessing the viability of tele-CR.

Virtual image of human heart  (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Virtual image of human heart
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
A new clinical study has found that telecardiac rehabilitation (tele-CR) can improve adherence and exercise capacity among patients of cardiac rehabilitation, providing a viable alternative to center-based rehabilitation programs, according to a Thursday press release from Datos Health, a provider of hospital-grade automated remote care and telemedicine platforms.
The study, titled Feasibility, Safety, and Effectiveness of a Mobile Application in Cardiac Rehabilitation, was published in the Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ), and focused on evaluating clinical and physiological results, in addition to patient adherence, as a means for assessing the viability of tele-CR as an alternative to location-based programs in medical centers. 
The six-month trial was performed at Sheba’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, as a first attempt to use digital health technology to monitor patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation. 
In response to the findings, Prof. Robert Klempfner, MD, Director of the Israeli Center for Cardiovascular Research and Scientific Director of the ARC Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center, said that “despite the clear benefits of CR in reducing cardiac moralities and improving overall quality of life, it is often woefully underutilized for reasons including challenges in attending rehabilitation centers and interference with day-to-day life.”
He added that “the findings of this study reveal considerable advantages of tele-CR in the increase of adherence to exercise programs and improved patient outcomes. The versatility of Datos’ remote care platform and its ability to increase patient engagement and adherence through personalization of the application is integral to making tele-CR a viable option for patients unable or unwilling to participate in center-based CR programs.”
The results of the study showed that significant improvements were seen in exercise capacity and consistent adherence among CR patients, with over 63% completing the goal of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Similarly, patient satisfaction was favorable, scoring 4.05 out of 5 among participants. 
The system was based on patients receiving a smartphone application with a customized care plan, including monitoring devices that provide medical feedback during training. Datos was responsible for developing the application, whereby a care team would monitor patient activity and adherence. The study's success has resulted in Israel's Health Ministry defining a new reimbursement code.
“Remote care and telemedicine solutions are helping health systems to reduce costs and improve recovery through increased engagement between patients and their care teams outside of hospital settings,” said Uri Bettesh, CEO and Founder of Datos Heath. 
“As shown by the [Israeli] Ministry of Health’s actions, this can also effect positive regulatory change. However, success of such programs is dependent on developing strong partnerships between healthcare organizations and technology developers. Datos has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Prof. Klempfner and his team at Sheba. This collaboration is further evidence of how together we can bring positive change to the provision of care for the benefit of large patient populations,” Bettesh noted.