Penn study will compare heart failure management technologies

February 24, 2005

(Philadelphia, PA) - Researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) have been awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health to study disease management technologies in patients with heart failure, and patients with both heart failure and diabetes. The principal investigator for the two-site trial is Lee Goldberg, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of the Heart-Lung Transplant Program.

The objective of this study is to assess the impact of health information technologies on clinical and financial outcomes for patients with symptomatic (NYHA Class II - IV) heart failure. The information technologies include remote monitoring (telemonitoring) of vital signs and symptoms, an electronic health record system and clinical decision support systems. This study will test a scalable, reproducible model for technology-supported heart failure management; and its results should assist purchasers, payers, and policy makers in selecting health information technologies to improve clinical and financial outcomes.

"An estimated 4.8 million Americans have heart failure, with an estimated 400,000 new cases arising each year," explains Dr. Goldberg. "The costs of treating these patients are skyrocketing and are only expected to grow as the population ages. In order to curb healthcare costs, we hope to develop protocols by which we can provide patients with the latest proven technologies to help them manage their homecare more effectively in order to reduce emergency rooms visits and improve outcomes."

The study will evaluate two different configurations of health information technologies. One is Technology Supported Case Management, a combination of telemonitoring and telephone nurse case management. The other is Technology Supported Self Management, which combines telemonitoring with an expert clinical-decision support system that assesses vital signs and symptoms for risk of decompensation - failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation - and guides patients through a step-by-step problem solving procedure.

The heart failure patients participating in the study will be randomized to:
1. Home technology including a scale, blood pressure cuff, heart rate monitor (and glucometer, if diabetic) with the information going to a nurse to evaluate and triage.
2. Home technology including a scale, blood pressure cuff, heart rate monitor (and glucometer, if diabetic) with the information going into a 'smart box' that evaluates a patient's objective data and then asks a series of subjective questions that are determined by the data. The box then helps the patient self manage or guides them to contact their physician or nurse.
3. Usual heart failure care.

A total of 325 subjects will be enrolled during the next 18 months at the two study sites - HUP and Saint Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Montana. The University of Louisville will be the data-coordinating center. HUP based patients will be recruited from Philadelphia, its surrounding suburbs and southern New Jersey. Saint Vincent Healthcare volunteers will be enrolled from the urban, remote and rural catchment areas of southern Montana and northern Wyoming, including the Indian Health Service.

Volunteers must be documented heart failure patients. Participants must have had two symptomatic heart failure events within the past year requiring a trip to an emergency room. A primary care physician or internist must be managing each volunteer's heart failure. Participants must also have the physical and cognitive ability to use the telephone, a scale (ability to stand unsupported for 20 seconds), a blood pressure monitor, blood glucose monitor (if needed), or the once-daily presence of a caregiver who is willing and able to assist with the procedures required by the study, and a working telephone with touchtone line and phone jack, or access to one.
-end-
Anyone interested should call Valerie Hatton RN, BSN, CCRP at (215) 615-0817 or valerie.hatton@uphs.upenn.edu.

Editor's Note: You may also find this news release on-line at www.uphs.upenn.edu/news.

The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink, live-shot capability for interviews with PENN Medicine experts.

About Penn Medcine
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation's first integrated academic health system). Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of three hospitals ( the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation's "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital and Presbyterian Medical Center); a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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