An in-home cardiac rehabilitation program developed in collaboration between Samsung and Kaiser Permanente achieved substantial lower rehospitalization rates according to a study in NEJM Catalyst.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cardiac rehabilitation programs including exercise and diet, as well as health education and counseling, can significantly reduce the risks related to cardiovascular disease. However, few cardiac patients enroll in rehabilitation programs, and even fewer complete them, reports Kaiser Permanente.
“This program took a fresh, digital-first approach to cardiac rehabilitation and put control in patients’ hands,” said Peter Koo, Corporate SVP and Head of the Health Service Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “It produced higher program completion rates than programs requiring excessive trips to the doctor’s office.
A total of 2,300 patients were recruited for the study. More than 80% of the patients completed it, compared to the national average of less than 50%. Kaiser Permanente is now evaluating expansion of the program beyond Southern California.
“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,” said Tad Funahashi, MD, who leads clinical innovation at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “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.”
The eight-week long Virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation Program combines wearable technology with Kaiser Permanente’s existing digital platform. Once enrolled, patients meet with their care team to create a rehabilitation program specific to their needs. The participants use a Samsung smartwatch (Gear S3 or Galaxy Watch) that pairs via Bluetooth with an Apple or Android smartphone. Samsung’s HeartWise application tracks each patient’s daily heart rate and activities. The watch sends reminders to the patient to exercise, collects patient activity data and continuously displays the patient heart rate during exercise. This data is automatically uploaded via the smartphone into the patient’s chart so that clinicians, case managers and physical therapists can track patient progress and engage with them accordingly.