The trial – supported by NHS Digital Health Partnership Awards Funding – will assess the smart tech, known as the Digitally Enhanced Rehabilitation in Cardiac Patients (DERIC) care platform. It will be trialled across three NHS Trusts, with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Data Science Centre providing independent advice on trial evaluation.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and support to help patients get back on their feet after a heart attack or heart surgery. Cardiac rehab services are used by more than 100,000 patients annually in the UK and are thought to reduce the risk of heart attacks, death and hospitalisation; lower healthcare costs; and improve quality of life.
However, targets for uptake and completion are often not met. In particular, women, and those from deprived areas, who are already at higher cardiovascular risk, have poorer rates of cardiac rehabilitation uptake and programme completion.
DERIC has been developed by health tech company ConnectedLife to enable cardiac rehabilitation to be delivered to patients in their own homes, leveraging devices and services from Fitbit and Google Health. The programme uses a Fitbit smartwatch to help patients measure heart rate, rhythm and physical activity.
A ConnectedLife mobile app enables patients to enter additional health data – such as blood pressure and weight – and answer questions about diet and other health information. Participants can also view a summary of their activity and health and wellness data and communicate with their care team.
A ConnectedLife dashboard summarises data that patients share to the app for the hospital care teams to use when having conversations with patients as part of the care plan.
The benefits for patients and cost effectiveness of the DERIC platform in the NHS will be compared with current cardiac rehabilitation programmes in a randomised trial at the three trusts. No one outside the NHS, including the companies involved in developing the platform, is granted access to any patient medical records.
Prof Cathie Sudlow, Director of the BHF Data Science Centre, said:
“We are pleased to be advising on the evaluation of this promising remote cardiac rehabilitation platform. Patients are providing valuable input on the trial and will be involved in interpreting the results.
“To ensure that the assessment of DERIC is independent, the companies involved in developing DERIC – ConnectedLife, Fitbit and Google Health – will not access patient medical records or be involved in the analysis of the trial results.”
Nicola Maxwell, Head of Fitbit Health Solutions, Europe, Middle East & Africa, said:
“The combination of Fitbit and ConnectedLife provides users with an overview of their activity, heart data and other health related information allowing them to manage their own day-to-day wellbeing. This collaboration helps doctors, nurses and other health professionals to remotely monitor their patients. It could lead to better condition management and potentially reduce the burden on the healthcare system.”
Prof Nicholas Peters, Consultant Cardiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, explained:
“The main aim of the DERIC trial is to assess whether cardiac rehabilitation delivered via the DERIC platform is at least as good as current standard-of-care. If DERIC proves effective, we hope that it will deliver enhanced patient experience, improved population health outcomes, improved staff experience, reduced costs and increased efficiency and value for money.”
Dr Susan Thomas, Clinical Director at Google Health London, said:
“We are excited by the DERIC programme’s potential to widen participation, address health inequalities and improve the quality of remotely delivered cardiac rehabilitation programmes.
“If the evaluations suggest DERIC could benefit patients and health systems, there is the potential to extend the programme to other NHS sites and explore its use in other care pathways which might benefit from remote patient monitoring and communication.”
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