During the study into the added value of digital information, which ran for more than a year and a half, some of the 300 participating patients received regular care. The other patients also received access to an e-health program. That consists of two parts. Starting with a number of educational videos that have been developed together with the Dutch Heart Foundation, doctors and patient representatives.
In addition, the program includes video consultations in which patients answer additional questions and discuss uncertainties. These educational videos and video consultations may make it easier for patients to prepare for and deal with the consequences of surgery.
Less care through digital information
Subsequently, it was examined what care the patients from the two study groups required six weeks after the open-heart surgery. Both in- and out-of-hospital care were considered. This includes physiotherapy, visits to the doctor and advice from dieticians.
The results were clear. Patients who could make use of an e-health program with digital information turned out to be less frequent and less care after this period. In other words: e-health can contribute to reducing healthcare demand and costs. “Our results prove that an e-Health program can contribute to keeping healthcare financially healthy,” says researcher Gijs van Steenbergen of the Catharina Hospital.
“Often patients no longer remember what information they received before surgery or upon discharge. As a result, this information is often incomplete for them and patients do not know which physical activity is allowed after discharge or who to contact in case of complaints,” Gijs continues.
Do not search online yourself
Nowadays a lot of this medical information can of course also be found online, on the internet. Many patients, who are digitally proficient enough, are already browsing the Internet looking for information about a condition, symptoms and surgery.
However, this information is rarely well categorized and complete in one accessible place. Not to mention the accuracy of the information provided. Compiling and offering e-health programs for digital information directly, from the hospital or the healthcare institution, therefore has the necessary advantages.
“Patients can look up information on the Internet; however, this information is unverified and sometimes inaccurate. Because planned care does not start until weeks after surgery, conflicting advice can lead to uncertainty, which leads to more care use and hinders recovery,” says Gijs. The results of the research have been published in JMIR Publications.
Subsidy for improving heart care
The Catharina Hospital has received a subsidy of 3 million euros from ZonMw for complex care related to colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Within the Cardiovascular Center this subsidy is used, among other things, to further strengthen the development and implementation of medical innovations.
This includes research into technological innovations and decision support based on artificial intelligence. The focus is on prevention, improved outcomes and cost control in 3 common heart diseases: clogged coronary arteries, narrowed heart valve and atrial fibrillation.
ICT&health conference 2023
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