Background Heart failure (HF) is a serious health condition, associated with high health care costs, and poor outcomes. Patient empowerment and self-care are a key component of successful HF management. The emergence of telehealth may enable providers to remotely monitor patients’ statuses, support adherence to medical guidelines, improve patient wellbeing, and promote daily awareness of overall patients’ health. Objective To assess the feasibility of a voice activated technology for monitoring of HF patients, and its impact on HF clinical outcomes and health care utilization. Methods We conducted a randomized clinical trial; ambulatory HF patients were randomized to voice activated technology or standard of care (SOC) for 90 days. The system developed for this study monitored patient symptoms using a daily survey and alerted healthcare providers of pre-determined reported symptoms of worsening HF. We used summary statistics and descriptive visualizations to study the alerts generated by the technology and to healthcare utilization outcomes. Results The average age of patients was 54 years, the majority were Black and 45% were women. Almost all participants had an annual income below $50,000. Baseline characteristics were not statistically significantly different between the two arms. The technical infrastructure was successfully set up and two thirds of the invited study participants interacted with the technology. Patients reported favorable perception and high comfort level with the use of voice activated technology. The responses from the participants varied widely and higher perceived symptom burden was not associated with hospitalization on qualitative assessment of the data visualization plot. Among patients randomized to the voice activated technology arm, there was one HF emergency department (ED) visit and 2 HF hospitalizations; there were no events in the SOC arm. Conclusions This study demonstrates the feasibility of remote symptom monitoring of HF patients using voice activated technology. The varying HF severity and the wide range of patient responses to the technology indicate that personalized technological approaches are needed to capture the full benefit of the technology. The differences in health care utilization between the two arms call for further study into the impact of remote monitoring on health care utilization and patients’ wellbeing.
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