ATLANTA – Veterans who participated in a smartphone-enabled home-based cardiac rehabilitation program showed high levels of engagement and significant improvements in fitness, according to a study presented recently at the American College of Cardiology’s 2017 Scientific Sessions.
“What surprised us was how well veterans embraced the technology,” said Dr. Arash Harzand, a research fellow at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in a statement. “Our work showed us that it’s feasible to utilize smartphones and digital tools to engage and coach this population effectively.”
The study recruited 23 veterans from the Atlanta VAMC with a qualifying diagnosis for cardiac rehabilitation. Participants entered a 12-week, home-based rehab program delivered via the Moving Analytics platform, which provided a guided exercise and educational program through a dedicated smartphone app. The app encouraged veterans to perform and log daily exercises, as well as other health metrics such as blood pressure and weight.
Participating veterans also received phone-based coaching from a cardiac nurse who reviewed their progress remotely using an integrated cloud-based dashboard.
The study showed that retention in this population was high with 30- and 90-day rates of 90%-80%. Participants also showed an improvement in functional and clinical outcomes.
“Delivering virtual cardiac rehabilitation via smartphones is a great example of a powerful tool that can help improve the experience of veterans receiving care from the VA to help improve both their health and quality of life,” said Andrea Ippolito, Innovators Network lead at the VA Center for Innovation.