Health professionals' expectations versus experiences of internet-based telemonitoring: survey among heart failure clinics
De Vries, A.E.; van der Wal, M.H.L.; Nieuwenhuis, M.M.W.; de Jong, R.M.; van Dijk, R.B.; Jaarsma, T.; Hillege, H.L.
Journal of Medical Internet Research 15(1): E4
Although telemonitoring is increasingly used in heart failure care, data on expectations, experiences, and organizational implications concerning telemonitoring are rarely addressed, and the optimal profile of patients who can benefit from telemonitoring has yet to be defined. To assess the actual status of use of telemonitoring and to describe the expectations, experiences, and organizational aspects involved in working with telemonitoring in heart failure in the Netherlands. In collaboration with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), a 19-item survey was sent to all outpatient heart failure clinics in the Netherlands, addressed to cardiologists and heart failure nurses working in the clinics. Of the 109 heart failure clinics who received a survey, 86 clinics responded (79%). In total, 31 out of 86 (36%) heart failure clinics were using telemonitoring and 12 heart failure clinics (14%) planned to use telemonitoring within one year. The number of heart failure patients receiving telemonitoring generally varied between 10 and 50; although in two clinics more than 75 patients used telemonitoring. The main goals for using telemonitoring are "monitoring physical condition", "monitoring signs of deterioration" (n=39, 91%), "monitoring treatment" (n=32, 74%), "adjusting medication" (n=24, 56%), and "educating patients" (n=33, 77%). Most patients using telemonitoring were in the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classes II (n=19, 61%) and III (n=27, 87%) and were offered the use of the telemonitoring system "as long as needed" or without a time limit. However, the expectations of the use of telemonitoring were not met after implementation. Eight of the 11 items about expectations versus experiences were significantly decreased (P<.001). Health care professionals experienced the most changes related to the use of telemonitoring in their work, in particular with respect to "keeping up with current development" (before 7.2, after 6.8, P=.15), "being innovative" (before 7.0, after 6.1, P=.003), and "better guideline adherence" (before 6.3, after 5.3, P=.005). Strikingly, 20 out of 31 heart failure clinics stated that they were considering using a different telemonitoring system than the system used at the time. One third of all heart failure clinics surveyed were using telemonitoring as part of their care without any transparent, predefined criteria of user requirements. Prior expectations of telemonitoring were not reflected in actual experiences, possibly leading to disappointment.