Patient adherence to scheduled vital sign measurements during home telemonitoring: Analysis of the intervention arm in a before and after trial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2018, 20 (4)
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© Branko Celler, Ahmadreza Argha, Marlien Varnfield, Rajiv Jayasena. Background: In a home telemonitoring trial, patient adherence with scheduled vital signs measurements is an important aspect that has not been thoroughly studied and for which data in the literature are limited. Levels of adherence have been reported as varying from approximately 40% to 90%, and in most cases, the adherence rate usually dropped off steadily over time. This drop is more evident in the first few weeks or months after the start. Higher adherence rates have been reported for simple types of monitoring and for shorter periods of intervention. If patients do not follow the intended procedure, poorer results than expected may be achieved. Hence, analyzing factors that can influence patient adherence is of great importance. Objective: The goal of the research was to present findings on patient adherence with scheduled vital signs measurements in the recently completed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) national trial of home telemonitoring of patients (mean age 70.5 years, SD 9.3 years) with chronic conditions (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, hypertensive diseases, congestive heart failure, diabetes, or asthma) carried out at 5 locations along the east coast of Australia. We investigated the ability of chronically ill patients to carry out a daily schedule of vital signs measurements as part of a chronic disease management care plan over periods exceeding 6 months (302 days, SD 135 days) and explored different levels of adherence for different measurements as a function of age, gender, and supervisory models. Methods: In this study, 113 patients forming the test arm of a Before and After Control Intervention (BACI) home telemonitoring trial were analyzed. Patients were required to monitor on a daily basis a range of vital signs determined by their chronic condition and comorbidities. Vital signs included noninvasive blood pressure, pulse oximetry, spirometry, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood glucose level, body temperature, and body weight. Adherence was calculated as the number of days during which at least 1 measurement was taken over all days where measurements were scheduled. Different levels of adherence for different measurements, as a function of age, gender, and supervisory models, were analyzed using linear regression and analysis of covariance for a period of 1 year after the intervention. Results: Patients were monitored on average for 302 (SD 135) days, although some continued beyond 12 months. The overall adherence rate for all measurements was 64.1% (range 59.4% to 68.8%). The adherence rates of patients monitored in hospital settings relative to those monitored in community settings were significantly higher for spirometry (69.3%, range 60.4% to 78.2%, versus 41.0%, range 33.1% to 49.0%, P<.001), body weight (64.5%, range 55.7% to 73.2%, versus 40.5%, range 32.3% to 48.7%, P<.001), and body temperature (66.8%, range 59.7% to 73.9%, versus 55.2%, range 48.4% to 61.9%, P=.03). Adherence with blood glucose measurements (58.1%, range 46.7% to 69.5%, versus 50.2%, range 42.8% to 57.6%, P=.24) was not significantly different overall. Adherence rates for blood pressure (68.5%, range 62.7% to 74.2%, versus 59.7%, range 52.1% to 67.3%, P=.04), ECG (65.6%, range 59.7% to 71.5%, versus 56.5%, range 48.7% to 64.4%, P=.047), and pulse oximetry (67.0%, range 61.4% to 72.7%, versus 56.4%, range 48.6% to 64.1%, P=.02) were significantly higher in males relative to female subjects. No statistical differences were observed between rates of adherence for the younger patient group (70 years and younger) and older patient group (older than 70 years). Conclusions: Patients with chronic conditions enrolled in the home telemonitoring trial were able to record their vital signs at home at least once every 2 days over prolonged periods of time. Male patients maintained a higher adherence than female patients over time, and patients supervised by hospital-based care coordinators reported higher levels of adherence with their measurement schedule relative to patients supervised in community settings. This was most noticeable for spirometry.
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