Kaiser Permanente yesterday touted promising results in reducing secondary cardiac events and rehospitalizations with a virtual cardiac rehabilitation program.
Developed in collaboration with Samsung (LON:BC94), the Oakland, Calif.-based insurer’s eight-week program uses a Samsung smartwatch, paired with an Apple or Android smartphone, to send reminders for exercise, display heart rate and collect data, which is uploaded to the smartphone and tracked by the health care team.
More than 2,300 patients enrolled in the program and more than 80% of those completed it, compared to the national average of less than 50%, according to a release. The data, published in NEJM Catalyst, included that less than 2% of patients in Kaiser Permanente’s program are readmitted to hospitals for cardiac-related reasons, while the average is between 10% to 15% for most programs.
In total, 1,880 patients have graduated the program since 2018. Clinicians anticipate more than 5,000 patients to be involved in 2019.
“Knowing that lifestyle change plays such a critical role in the long-term health of cardiac patients, we set out to find a way to make the rehabilitation program as easy and seamless as possible for our members,” Dr. Tad Funahashi, who leads clinical innovation at Kaiser Permanente, said in prepared remarks. “By working closely with patients, care providers, and case managers we were able to do just that. Our virtual cardiac rehabilitation program is proving to keep patients engaged and reduce readmissions.”
“Weekly contact with the nurse provided tremendous reassurance for me,” added Michelle Wofford, a Kaiser Permanente member enrolled in the program after having a stent placed to open blockage in a coronary artery. “In addition to using the watch and smartphone app to stay on track with my physical activity, I also had access to a nutrition class. The Plants for Life class was life-changing and emotional for me because I realized that I needed to change my diet to avoid going down a path I could not come back from.”