Sunday, February 27, 2011

One of North America's Largest Telehome Programs Reaches 1,000-Patient Milestone

Photo Credit: University of Ottawa Heart Institute

OTTAWA, February 24, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) is marking a significant milestone by enrolling the 1,000th cardiac patient in one of North America's largest telehome programs, demonstrating a proven approach to managing chronic disease by reducing hospital readmission while improving quality of life.

"An aging population is leading to the rise of complex chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure. Our program empowers heart failure patients, giving them more control over their own health in their own homes and relieves pressure on a congested hospital system," said Christine Struthers, Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), who manages the program.

Heart failure is a collection of heart conditions such as heart attack, an inability of the heart to pump effectively, hypertension (high blood pressure) and other complex illnesses. As a chronic disease, heart failure patients must manage the condition for the rest of their lives under close medical supervision.

Mortality and hospital readmission rates for heart failure are higher than other heart conditions. Earlier research shows that up to half of congestive heart failure patients in Canada are readmitted to hospital. Further, hospitalization and medical visits for congestive heart failure are the second highest of any disease with a length of stay generally of 13 days.

Research at the Heart Institute has shown telehome monitoring at the Heart Institute has cut hospital readmission for heart failure by 54 per cent with savings up to $20,000 for each patient safely diverted from an emergency department visit, readmission and hospital stay.

The Heart institute's five-year-old program enables patients to manage their own health from home with close nursing supervision while lessening the need for emergency attention because of potential medical complications.

"Our telehome program focuses on preventing chronic disease from progressing and helps patients deal directly with their own personal situations whether it is compliance with medication or managing symptoms better," said Struthers.

The Heart Institute started in 2005 with 20 monitoring systems for patients to take home after discharge. Today, 158 monitors are available for distribution in nearly every hospital in the region. Patients transmit vital medical data, such as weight and vital signs, daily to the Heart Institute. Data indicating a potential problem or need for more information is flagged by nurses, who call patients immediately.

About UOHI

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a personal touch, shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding. We build knowledge through research and translate discoveries into advanced care. We serve the local, national and international community, and are pioneering a new era in heart health. For more information, visit

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