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Center for Connected Health Presents Growing Evidence of the Benefits of Technology to Improve Patient Satisfaction and Empowerment
Date:4/8/2008

BOSTON and SEATTLE, April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, one of the nation's leading integrated health care delivery systems, is presenting data from eleven new research studies conducted at Partners-affiliated hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, reporting patient perceptions of connected health technologies. These study findings, presented at the 13th annual American Telemedicine Association (ATA) annual conference this week, include new perspectives on how patients are feeling empowered to better manage their care, increased satisfaction and improvements in their overall health.

"Through a number of ongoing programs, we are finding more evidence demonstrating the benefits of connected health for patients, healthcare providers, employers and payers, as well as for the person who simply wants to stay healthy," said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, founder and director, Center for Connected Health, and a past president of the ATA. "We are hearing repeatedly how connected health technologies are empowering patients to take a more active role in managing their health, and helping doctors and nurses provide more timely interventions and information to improve patients' overall quality of life."

Remote Monitoring Empowers Patients, Supports Healthcare Providers

Trends in healthcare are driving the need for increased interactive communication, between doctor and patient, and back. Patients are demanding more information and are taking a more active role in their health. By enabling patients to collect and transmit personal health data to their healthcare providers, and for healthcare providers to better monitor their patients and provide intervention in real-time, remote monitoring is proving to be a valuable tool in delivering quality care and enabling patients to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Growing evidence is demonstrating the potential of telemonitoring. For example, the Center for Connected Health presented data from a study of non-homebound heart failure patients participating in the Connected Cardiac Care program. Participants were given home telemonitoring equipment to transmit daily vital signs and symptom reports to a telemonitoring nurse. Initial feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of patients reporting that the program has improved their overall health and helped them stay out of the hospital.

In another example, a focus group of diabetes patients, conducted by the Center for Connected Health, suggested that these patients value remote monitoring in empowering them to better manage their diabetes through education and increased communication with care providers. Participants reported that blood sugar monitoring was most valuable when newly diagnosed, or for patients trying to regain control of their diabetes. Electronic communication between providers and patients outside of scheduled office visits was perceived as important in improving diabetes management.

Helping Patients Improve Adherence, Maintain Wellness Activities

Three separate studies conducted by the Center for Connected Health suggest how available consumer technology - the telephone, a pager system and the Internet - may help patients adhere to their prescribed medications and maintain an exercise regimen.

Results of a study featuring a reminder system to improve medication adherence, using an electronic pill bottle and desk lamp linked to a pager system, showed significant acceptance among participants. Following the study, 65% of participants reported that the technology was effective in improving their adherence.

"The time is now for healthcare institutions, employers and payers to incorporate connected health into their standard healthcare programs," Kvedar added. "The technologies are rapidly evolving, giving us increasingly consumer-friendly, simple and effective tools to deliver quality care outside of a medical setting. Patients and providers are also increasingly embracing connected health programs to improve care, communication and quality of life."

Other presentations by the Center for Connected Health included data on the growing application and acceptance of remote online consultations, increasing satisfaction for e-visits for the management of acne, and experiences with distance education programs.

About the Center for Connected Health

The Center for Connected Health (formerly Partners Telemedicine), a division of Partners HealthCare, is a leader in the use of technology to deliver quality patient care outside of the medical setting. Based in Boston, the Center for Connected Health is applying consumer technologies and online resources in innovative ways, to increase access and improve quality medical services and patient care. The Center for Connected Health also offers expert online second opinions and facilitates enhanced medical education and training through Internet technologies. Visit http://www.connected-health.org.

Boston-based Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded in 1994 by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system also includes community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation's leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners is a non-profit organization. Visit http://www.partners.org.

CONTACT:

Gina Cella

Cella Communications

T: 781-334-4692

ginacella@comcast.net


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SOURCE The Center for Connected Health
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