Long-term impact of a six-month telemedical care programme on mortality, heart failure readmissions and healthcare costs in patients with chronic heart failure

J Telemed Telecare. 2019 Jun;25(5):286-293. doi: 10.1177/1357633X18774632. Epub 2018 May 10.


Aims: The TElemonitoring in the MAnagement of Heart Failure (TEMA-HF) 1 long-term follow-up study assessed whether an initial six-month telemonitoring (TM) programme compared with usual care (UC) would result in reduced all-cause mortality, heart failure admissions and healthcare costs in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients at long-term follow-up.

Methods: Of the 160 patients included in the multi-centre, randomised controlled telemonitoring trial (TEMA-HF 1, time point t0); 142 CHF patients (65% male; age: 76 ± 10 years; EF: 36 ± 15%) were alive and entered the follow-up study (time point: t1) with a final evaluation at 79 months (time point: t2). Both TM and UC group patients received standard heart failure care during the follow-up study (time points: t1 - t2). The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes included days lost due to heart failure readmissions and readmission/patient follow-up related healthcare costs.

Results: Compared with usual care, the initial six-month TM programme had no significant effect on all-cause mortality (hazard ratio: 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.57 to 1.20; p = 0.32). The number of days lost due to heart failure readmissions was significantly lower in the TM group ( p = 0.04). Healthcare costs did not differ significantly between the TM (€ 9140 ± 10580) and UC group (€ 12495 ± 22433) ( p = 0.87).

Discussion: An initial six-month telemonitoring programme was not associated with reduced all-cause mortality in CHF patients at long-term follow-up but resulted in a reduction in the number of days lost due to heart failure readmissions. This study is registered in the ClinicalTrials.gov registry (NCT03171038) (URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03171038 ).

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Telecardiology; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Telemedicine / economics
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03171038