Background: Mobile phone-based remote patient monitoring systems have been proposed for heart failure management because they are relatively inexpensive and enable patients to be monitored anywhere. However, little is known about whether patients and their health care providers are willing and able to use this technology.
Objective: The objective of our study was to assess the attitudes of heart failure patients and their health care providers from a heart function clinic in a large urban teaching hospital toward the use of mobile phone-based remote monitoring.
Methods: A questionnaire regarding attitudes toward home monitoring and technology was administered to 100 heart failure patients (94/100 returned a completed questionnaire). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 20 heart failure patients and 16 clinicians to determine the perceived benefits and barriers to using mobile phone-based remote monitoring, as well as their willingness and ability to use the technology.
Results: The survey results indicated that the patients were very comfortable using mobile phones (mean rating 4.5, SD 0.6, on a five-point Likert scale), even more so than with using computers (mean 4.1, SD 1.1). The difference in comfort level between mobile phones and computers was statistically significant (P< .001). Patients were also confident in using mobile phones to view health information (mean 4.4, SD 0.9). Patients and clinicians were willing to use the system as long as several conditions were met, including providing a system that was easy to use with clear tangible benefits, maintaining good patient-provider communication, and not increasing clinical workload. Clinicians cited several barriers to implementation of such a system, including lack of remuneration for telephone interactions with patients and medicolegal implications.
Conclusions: Patients and clinicians want to use mobile phone-based remote monitoring and believe that they would be able to use the technology. However, they have several reservations, such as potential increased clinical workload, medicolegal issues, and difficulty of use for some patients due to lack of visual acuity or manual dexterity.