Vol. 1 No. 9 (2021)
Health Technology Reviews

Remote Monitoring Programs for Cardiac Conditions

Published September 23, 2021

Key Messages

  • Remote monitoring is a type of telehealth whereby health care is delivered to patients outside traditional settings by allowing health data to be exchanged between patients and health care providers using telecommunication techniques (e.g., video conferencing) or stand-alone devices (e.g., portable heart rate monitors). The goals of remote monitoring centre around promoting home-based self-management to improve patient outcomes and/or reduce health system usage.
  • CADTH’s Health Technology Assessment included the following analyses:
    • A Realist Review: This sought to identify key perceived or actual mechanisms of remote monitoring programs. Substantial evidence was available regarding the use of remote monitoring programs for heart failure (n = 64) and cardiac rehabilitation (n = 23), limited evidence was available for atrial fibrillation (n = 4), and none was available for hypertension.
    • A Perspectives and Experiences Review: This thematic synthesis of primary qualitative research sought to understand and describe peoples’ experiences with and perspectives on remote monitoring programs for cardiac conditions. CADTH also engaged patients and caregivers directly in a patient engagement section.
    • An Ethics Review: This sought to identify and reflect upon key ethical issues that should be considered when contemplating the implementation of remote monitoring programs.
  • Overall, the vast majority of sampled patients, caregivers, and health professionals consistently found or perceived remote monitoring programs across different cardiac conditions to be easy to use and beneficial to health.
  • Remote monitoring programs may be an attractive adjunct as opposed to an alternative to existing health professionals and services.
  • Although remote monitoring programs may ultimately reduce avoidable hospitalizations, they may increase net costs and workload during set-up and operational phases without careful pathway design and expectations management.
  • More research is needed to identify the costs and cost-effectiveness of remote monitoring programs across chronic cardiac conditions.