Kvedar said the CCCP equips high-risk patients, typically cardiac surgery patients who also suffer from a chronic condition such as diabetes, with a table-top monitoring device when they're discharged from the hospital. The device allows patients to measure their blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs from home and have the data relayed to their physician at least once a day.
"By reviewing the data each day, doctors and nurses can see when something is wrong and touch base with the patient," said Kvedar. "By the same token, if a patient doesn't send the information on a particular day, they'll get a call to find out why and to make sure they're OK."
After a few months in the program, the overall health of patients tends to improve through a combination of monitoring and education. "For example, if we notice a patient's blood pressure has spiked, a nurse will call and ask them what they've been doing or what they've been eating," said Kvedar. "In some instances, it turns out the patient ate something loaded with sodium and they learn to avoid that food in the future."
Since the launch of the CCCP, the Center for Connected Health and Partners Healthcare have expanded the remote patient monitoring concept to include programs for patients who suffer from diabetes, colorectal cancer, and patients recovering from a stroke. The programs now draw patients from seven hospitals in the Boston area and Partners Community HealthCare, a management services organization with more than 5,500 affiliated physicians.