There is good news and not so good news when it comes to heart health:
“As the death rate from heart attack has actually been dropping over the last ten years or so, the death rate for congestive heart failure’s still staying up there,” says Dr. Richard Chazal, cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Partly because people are living longer with heart disease and developing heart failure in old age. From a medical standpoint, congestive heart failure is extremely costly.
“Congestive heart failure is one of the leading causes of hospitalization in the United States. And it has a lot of cost and disability associated. And it is a common cause of death,” says Dr. Chazal.
Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It’s responsible for an estimated 30,000 deaths a year. Experts find that close monitoring of patients can both cut hospital readmission rates and save lives.
“One of our objectives is to keep people healthy and out of the hospital and that often is a coordinated effort that can help the patient by monitoring his or her condition at home,” says Dr. Chazal.
Using telehealth technology, patients can stay in familiar surroundings and still be watched by health professionals- thanks to a remote hookup that checks their vitals throughout the day.
“We look at the blood pressure; we look at how much oxygen they have in their blood. We look at weight, which is very significant when you have congestive heart failure,” says Cathy Brady, clinical manager of telehealth with Lee Memorial Health System.
Information is reviewed by a nurse at a central office.
“If there’s an abnormality, we look at those abnormalities and at that point in time that’s when we determine the action that we need to take,” says Brady.
Remote supervision is paying off- picking up problems before they spiral out of control. Saving lives and stress on the health care system.