Smartphone app helps cardiac rehab patients recover better

Mayo Clinic

Patients who attended cardiac rehabilitation and used a smartphone app to record daily measurements such as weight and blood pressure had greater improvements in those cardiovascular risk factors, and were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 90 days of discharge, compared with patients who only attended cardiac rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic researchers found.

Only 20% of the patients who attended cardiac rehab and used the app were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department within 90 days, compared with 60% of those in the control group, researchers discovered.

In this study, 44 patients at Mayo Clinic who were hospitalized following a heart attack and stent placement were divided into two groups: 25 received cardiac rehab and the online/smartphone-based program; the 19 in the control group received only cardiac rehab. Patients in the app group were asked to enter data each day into the program downloaded onto their mobile device.

In addition to recording blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels, minutes of physical activity and dietary habits over a three-month period, the app also provided patients with educational activities, which taught them lifestyle behaviors that could help avoid further cardiac problems, such as a second heart attack. Patients received no monetary reward.