An Internet-based self monitoring intervention for patients with chronic heart failure

In 1997, congestive or chronic heart failure (CHF) was the primary cause of death in British Columbia and in 2000, it was the most common cause of hospitalization for Canadians over the age of 65. Multidisciplinary interventions, including education, follow up and self-management strategies have been shown to improve quality of life and decrease subsequent hospital admissions among people with CHF. However, up to 50 per cent of hospital readmissions for CHF occur because patients have not learned to manage and monitor their condition effectively. Biljana Maric’s research is investigating the feasibility of Internet-based self-monitoring for CHF patients. Participants will log on to the study website each morning, enter their current body weight and answer five questions about their health status and any symptoms they are experiencing. A nurse will log on to a secure database to monitor responses and follow up with participants when responses trigger an alert. Biljana’s study will examine patient and staff uptake, and assess the impact of the program on patient quality of life and self care. If adopted, Internet monitoring of heart patients could decrease the health care costs associated with heart failure readmissions, alleviating some of the financial burden on the health care system while improving patient health outcomes.