The Virtual Heart Function Clinic Study

Dr. Scott Lear, the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation BC & Yukon Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Research at St. Paul’s Hospital, is looking at ways to deliver care to heart failure patients in geographically remote communities through the use of Web-based technologies.

His previous telehealth research endeavors include the Virtual Heart Function Clinic (VHFC) study that assessed the feasibility of a website in supporting self-management and monitoring in heart failure patients, and the Virtual Cardiac Rehabilitation Program which used an online interface to mimic the existing outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs currently in use at hospitals across BC.

The results of both initiatives not only demonstrated that patients were willing to adopt the use of Web-based technologies to monitor their health, but that a home-based Internet alternative to cardiac rehab program was just as effective as hospital-based therapy.

Taking what he and his research team have learnt from the initial phases of the VHFC study, Dr. Lear is currently involved in increasing the functionality of the virtual clinic and implementing it across the province to remote, rural patients.

Through his research, Dr. Lear hopes to deliver care to those who might not otherwise have access to the services and programs that only run in urban areas. Ultimately, he hopes to improve their quality of life, keep them out of the hospital and reduce their future risks.