Study examines effectiveness of telemonitoring vital signs

April 16, 2010, Case Western Reserve University

Like the bleeps of an alarm clock, TeleCare, a home monitoring device, gives the chronically ill a wake-up call: "It's time to take your vitals."

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University will study how effective TeleCare is in keeping individuals with complex health issues healthy and out of the hospital.

CWRU's University Center on Aging and Health awarded a one-year pilot grant to investigators Elizabeth Madigan from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Rebecca Boxer from the School of Medicine at CWRU, and Amir Poreh from Cleveland State, for the study, "Supporting Self-Management with Telehealth for Patients with Multiple Morbidity."

The researchers will work with the 40 patients under the care of the Cleveland Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) of Ohio, headquartered in Cleveland. The patients suffer from one or more of the following illnesses: heart failure, (COPD) and diabetes. They also experience symptoms of depression, anxiety or difficulties making decisions.

The Cleveland VNA has about 100 TeleCare monitors in use to track heart rates, blood pressures, , temperature, weight and blood sugar of patients on days when the visiting nurses do not make house calls.

When the device announces the time to take vital signs, the patient plugs the device into the telephone jack, attaches various pieces of medical equipment (like a blood pressure cuff or scales) to the device and then records the data. The information is sent directly to a specially-trained VNA nurse at a computer station, who tracks the data for health changes that signify a potential medical issue.

According to Madigan, the technology allows health care organizations like the VNA to monitor and extend care beyond the regular home visit and find changes in the health condition before it might reach a critical stage.

An example says Madigan, who is a professor of nursing, is an elevated weight gain in a person with heart failure—a sign of potential fluid overload.

"Generally patients like this monitoring," said. While it is distant monitoring, "it's another set of eyes on their health conditions."

The VNA has used the monitors for about seven years, but past studies on home telehealth monitoring have been done on the ideal or controlled patients.

Because the targeted illnesses in this study also are associated with cognitive or mental health changes, the researchers want to see if the technology is effective in helping "the real patient with real issues" manage their illnesses.

"We hope to find out which patients benefit the most from telehealth monitoring," Madigan said.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.