Medtronic’s moves in post-acute cardiac care management, monitoring

Medical device giant (and inverted to Dublin) Medtronic announced today the launch of their Beacon Heart Failure Management Service in the US. It combines their implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices with post-acute patient monitoring from Medtronic Care Management Services (MCMS). The patients are checked both through their recorded cardiac device diagnostics and what they called ‘branching logic’ questions which collect daily qualitative, biometric and symptom information, plus provide patient education. Care managers then review the data along what they term ‘established clinical pathways’ check for growing risk factors and alert providers if needed.

What is interesting is that the in-home delivery and collection platform or hub is not specified. Medtronic happens to own one of the telehealth pioneers, a company which used to be called Cardiocom–which is now part of Medtronic Care Management Services in their Cardiac and Vascular Group (CVG).

No launch clients/partners are mentioned, save a quote from a cardiologist at The Stern Cardiovascular Foundation in the Memphis TN area. ReleaseFierceMedicalDevices

In other Medtronic news, earlier this week they announced the acquisition of cardiac device company HeartWare for $1.1 billion. HeartWare has developed small implantable (more…)

46 percent of undiagnosed chronic disease discovered through corporate wellness program

A HealthMine survey of corporate wellness program participants found that 46 percent of respondents who were diagnosed with a previously unknown chronic disease discovered it as a result of their wellness program. Corporate wellness programs have been light on ROI metrics (many are at heart incentive programs). While the survey was conducted by a provider of these programs (HealthMine’s Automatic Health) and should be seen in that light, it also indirectly confirms the proactive value of health screenings. Employees want more as well. Participants in an earlier survey that they would like programs to offer vision (74 percent), genetic testing (75 percent), blood pressure (73 percent), cholesterol (69 percent), cancer (58 percent), and hearing (58 percent). The MedCityNews article also makes the excellent point that employers, through these wellness programs, are directly or indirectly accessing employee personal health information–a legally fraught area.

When remote monitoring ends, what happens to patient outcomes?

They do not maintain improvement, just as we thought. A just-published study fills a significant gap in telehealth knowledge. The study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) analyzed the long-running Partners HealthCare-Massachusetts General Hospital Connected Cardiac Care Program (CCCP) for patients with heart failure. They matched 174 patients participating in the 120-day program between January 2008 and August 2012 with an equal number of control patients, all with heart failure, previously hospitalized and receiving care at MGH. The program patients were provided with a ViTelNet monitoring hub plus devices–a digital weight scale, a blood pressure cuff and meter, and a pulse oximeter–as well as receiving patient education plus unscheduled education intervention from nurse care coordinators when results trended out of pre-set ranges.

During the 120 day program, the program patients (predictably) had consistently lower hospitalization rates versus the control group at the 30, 60, 90 and 120 day marks, though the differential narrowed over time. But after program completion, in the study’s follow up eight months after the end of the four-month program (see one year below), the program group’s hospitalization rates increased to exceed the control group’s. Mortality rates remained lower though not statistically significant:

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Big data in heart failure detection gets $2 million grant

One part of the US government that hasn’t gone silent is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which announced yesterday a $2 million research grant to IBM, Sutter Health and Geisinger Health System to jointly develop data analytics tools to help primary care physicians detect heart failure sooner. This will analyze EHR data to determine the patterns that may be indicative of a person at high risk–and investigate more effective early intervention. Big data sets sights on heart disease (HealthcareITNews)

Substantial benefits from telemonitoring trial that avoids patient involvement

In a possible pointer to a future of greater benefits from telemonitoring when vital signs information is transmitted to care-givers automatically, eg from smart clothing or subcutaneous probes, Heartwire reports on the successful Dutch IN-TIME RCT involving implant-based home monitoring for patients with advanced heart failure. For those in the intervention group, in-house monitoring significantly reduced the worsening of their condition, and significantly reduced mortality, compared with the control group.

Asked why his study succeeded where others have not, (more…)