Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to play a leading role in a major trial assessing the use of smart technologies to support the recovery of heart attack patients.
The trust is one of three trusts nationally, alongside Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, trialling a new digital care platform which will enable cardiac rehabilitation services to be delivered to patients in their own homes through mobile apps, Fitbits, and novel digital technologies.
More than 100,000 patients a year in the UK access cardiac rehabilitation services on the NHS following a heart attack, heart surgery, or stent procedure.
And cardiac rehabilitation services play a vital role in a patient’s overall recovery and are delivered through a structured programme of exercise and supporting sessions.
These sessions, which are recommended by NICE, are tailored to an individual patient’s needs and have been shown to reduce the risk of mortality, another heart event, and hospital readmission following a heart attack, heart surgery or stent procedure. They also lower healthcare costs and improve the quality of patients’ lives.
The technology, known as the Digitally Enhanced Rehabilitation in Cardiac Patients (DERIC) care platform, uses a Fitbit smartwatch to help patients measure heart rate, rhythm, and physical activity and plugs into a mobile app.
Patients are also able to enter additional health data such as blood pressure and weight and answer questions about diet and other health information in a mobile app.
We need to investigate new ways of providing cardiac rehab so that this can be embraced by a larger proportion of people with cardiovascular disease
This information can then be accessed remotely by doctors, nurses, and other health professionals as part of the patient’s care plan.
Professor Rob Storey, professor of cardiology and honorary consultant cardiologist in Sheffield, said: “Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients with cardiovascular disease in their recovery from a wide range of heart events, such as following a heart attack or heart surgery.
“We need to investigate new ways of providing cardiac rehab so that this can be embraced by a larger proportion of people with cardiovascular disease.
“The DERIC study will assess whether novel technologies provide a solution for delivering the same benefits as current cardiac rehab systems in a way that may be extended to a larger number of people who could benefit, particularly those who currently find it hard to attend cardiac rehab sessions.
We will learn much more from this study about the potential of modern digital technologies for improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes
“We will learn much more from this study about the potential of modern digital technologies for improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.”
Professor Tim Chico, honorary vonsultant vardiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and professor of cardiology at the University of Sheffield, who is also the thematic lead for personal monitoring data at the British Heart Foundation’s Data Science Centre, added: “There is huge potential from combining personal monitoring data with other types of health data in order to provide the greatest support for people to improve their cardiovascular health and sense of wellbeing.
“The study provides an exciting opportunity to demonstrate how personal monitoring may transform the way that we deliver health care.”
The trial is being supported by NHS Digital Health Partnership Awards Funding, which was given in recognition of the potential for high quality and effectiveness of the platform in remotely supporting patients living with cardiovascular disease, or who are at risk of developing it.
The British Heart Foundation Data Science Centre at Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) is advising on the trial design, conduct, and analysis.