Medical technology company Jana Care is working with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to study the effectiveness of a mobile app for the self-management of congestive heart failure.
Recruitment of heart failure patients at MGH has just begun, and the study is expected to conclude by the end of this year. The study is being funded by a grant from the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) through their Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN) program.
Said mobile app, called Heart Habits, provides an easy-to-use interface for heart failure patients to learn how to manage their lifestyle and monitor their heart failure symptoms. It also includes a daily checklist to guide patients to take bite-sized lessons, track their weight, sodium and fluid intake, and check in on their symptoms.
Twice a week, or in the event of substantial weight gain, patients will be prompted to take a survey to assess the severity of their symptoms. Depending on the severity of the survey, patients will be advised to either call their doctors or 911, or simply check in with their providers later. Their symptom results and progress are shared with the study investigators via a web dashboard. Patients can also contact their study team via the chat functionality in the app.
Participating patients will be enrolled for 6 weeks, and at the end of study — their knowledge of heart failure and a self reported quality of life assessment will be compared to those of in the control group.
"In designing the Habits Heart application, we considered both the clinician and patient experience carefully. Cardiologists from MGH provided input based on their clinical expertise in content and patient management," said A.J. Kumar, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Jana Care. "We combined this deep area knowledge with Jana Care's experience in creating scalable digital coaching programs [via the app] in an easy-to-use but engaging way for heart failure patients."
Heart failure currently affects nearly 6 million patients in the United States alone and by 2030, that number is expected to increase to 8 million. Approximately 1 million hospitalizations identify heart failure as the primary diagnosis and nearly 1 in 4 heart failure patients will be re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge. Furthermore, the mortality rate remains unacceptably high at 50% within 5 years of diagnosis and the direct costs of heart failure are expected to more than double from over $30 billion to $70 billion a year in 2030.