Researchers from UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have found activity trackers to be an effective remote monitoring tool for patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD), according to a study published in JAMIA.
In this study, researchers valuated the adherence rates of IHD patients when provided with a continuous heart rate and activity tracker.
“Activity trackers in combination with smartphones are perceived to be easy-to-use, accessible means for providing feedback and support directly to patients,” wrote first author Corey Arnold, PhD, of the department of radiological sciences at UCLA, and colleagues. “This feedback loop has been shown to positively impact health interventions with the goal of lifestyle changes. Although demonstrating potential as intervention methods, these approaches have largely been used in studies with small samples or in healthy subjects, which may not accurately represent true adherence in a telemedicine application.”
The study enrolled 186 IHD patients from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and provided then with the Fitbit Charge 2 heart rate tacker. Data were collected for 90 days, after which participants completed a questionnaire. Fitbit adherence data were then compared to data collected from accelerometer studies of non-Fitbit wearing participants. Overall, results showed participants had a high level of adherence at 90 percent medical usage with low attrition over the 90-day study. Additionally, data collection mimicked clinically relevant patient surveys, showing a potential benefit in using wearables to identify at-risk patients.
“These devices can record useful patient statistics including activity level, resting and active heart rate and sleep time,” concluded Arnold and colleagues. “Because the Fitbit provides data access in real time, gaps of adherence can be detected quickly, and reminders could be sent as a result, possibly improving adherence. Future studies should investigate the utility of this real-time tracking as a basis for patient health surveillance and as a means for using feedback to overcome the attrition seen in eHealth studies.”