Heart + Lung

The Internet Chronic Disease Management Study

Dr. Scott Lear who holds a research chair in cardiovascular prevention at St. Paul’s Hospital is currently investigating ways to expand his telehealth research initiatives by developing websites that help patients manage chronic diseases at home and in remote parts of the province.

In his earlier research, Dr. Lear demonstrated that patients were willing to adopt the use of Web-based technologies to monitor their health and that web-based interactive cardiac rehabilitation could be as effective as hospital-based rehab programs. Armed with these findings, Dr. Lear is now examining the use of online monitoring programs that can gather information about a patient’s medications, symptoms and vital statistics in one place and provide recommendations that account for all of the patient’s conditions which may include heart, lung, and kidney diseases.

The online monitoring programs in the form of interactive websites will not only allow patients to have their vital signs and symptoms monitored, but will also provide patients with immediate “virtual therapy” where health care providers can counsel them on how to relieve symptoms through nutrition, exercise, and the importance of medication adherence.

Specifically, Dr. Lear will be looking at the quality of care that such online monitoring programs can provide to patients, their impact on healthcare costs, and whether the websites help keep patients from having to go into hospital to address some of their health concerns.