Digital Health Intervention in Acute Myocardial Infarction

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2021 Jul;14(7):e007741. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.121.007741. Epub 2021 Jul 15.


Background: Thirty-day readmissions among patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) contribute to the US health care burden of preventable complications and costs. Digital health interventions (DHIs) may improve patient health care self-management and outcomes. We aimed to determine if patients with AMI using a DHI have lower 30-day unplanned all-cause readmissions than a historical control.

Methods: This nonrandomized controlled trial with a historical control, conducted at 4 US hospitals from 2015 to 2019, included 1064 patients with AMI (DHI n=200, control n=864). The DHI integrated a smartphone application, smartwatch, and blood pressure monitor to support guideline-directed care during hospitalization and through 30-days post-discharge via (1) medication reminders, (2) vital sign and activity tracking, (3) education, and (4) outpatient care coordination. The Patient Activation Measure assessed patient knowledge, skills, and confidence for health care self-management. All-cause 30-day readmissions were measured through administrative databases. Propensity score-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models estimated hazard ratios of readmission for the DHI group relative to the control group.

Results: Following propensity score adjustment, baseline characteristics were well-balanced between the DHI versus control patients (standardized differences <0.07), including a mean age of 59.3 versus 60.1 years, 30% versus 29% Women, 70% versus 70% White, 54% versus 54% with private insurance, 61% versus 60% patients with a non ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and 15% versus 15% with high comorbidity burden. DHI patients were predominantly in the highest levels of patient activation for health care self-management (mean score 71.7±16.6 at 30 days). The DHI group had fewer all-cause 30-day readmissions than the control group (6.5% versus 16.8%, respectively). Adjusting for hospital site and a propensity score inclusive of age, sex, race, AMI type, comorbidities, and 6 additional confounding factors, the DHI group had a 52% lower risk for all-cause 30-day readmissions (hazard ratio, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.26-0.88]). Similar results were obtained in a sensitivity analysis employing propensity matching.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that in patients with AMI, the DHI may be associated with high patient activation for health care self-management and lower risk of all-cause unplanned 30-day readmissions. Registration: URL:; Unique identifier: NCT03760796.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; hospitalization; secondary prevention; smartphone.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction* / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction* / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction* / therapy
  • Non-ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Readmission
  • Risk Factors

Associated data