Low-income African-American heart failure patients who used an at-home monitoring system found it easy to use and many said it improved their medication compliance, according to research that was published Wednesday on the American Heart Association journal website Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes.

The research was originally scheduled to be released as part of the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2015 Scientific Sessions, which was cancelled due to violent protests in the city of Baltimore.

Researchers reported on the experiences of 12 low-income African-American patients with heart failure, who used an at-home tele-monitoring system as a reminder to take their medications and transmit vital signs information to a nurse. The monitoring system included a computer tablet monitor, blood pressure machine, weight scale and pulse oximeter.

Researchers asked patients what they thought of the tele-monitoring approach after 28 days.

  • All patients said they’d like to continue to use the monitoring system.
  • All found the system very easy or easy to use.
  • All but one patient said the monitoring improved their medication compliance.
  • Eight patients said they felt more involved with their heart failure management; four said it made no difference or they didn’t have a response.

Tele-monitoring seems useful in this patient population and future research should look at whether the approach is cost-effective and actually improves patients’ heart health, researchers said.