London: Scientists have developed a novel tablet device to help heart failure patients manage their disease by monitoring symptoms and drug dosage.
Researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden developed OPTILOGG, a preprogrammed tablet attached to a weighing scale that provides heart failure education, registers body weight and symptoms, and manages diuretics dosage.
If the tool detects heart failure deterioration, the patient is instructed to increase the dose of diuretics. If weight gain is above a predetermined range patients should contact the heart failure clinic, researchers said.
Patients can use OPTILOGG as required without pushing any buttons, and it takes less than 30 seconds a day.
Researchers studied about 32 patients from four primary care heart failure clinics. Participants were 65 years old on average and 31% were female.
They found that 94% of patients used OPTILOGG as intended. Nurses reported that the introduction of the tool did not increase their workload. The median total score on the self-care behaviour scale significantly decreased from 28.5 at baseline to 18 at four months.
“Patients’ self-care behaviours improved by 10.5 points or 37% when they used OPTILOGG. The nurses said patients felt safer and were more committed to taking better care of themselves when using the tool. We also found that it did not create more work for nurses," said Maria Liljeroos from Linkoping University.
“Our study shows that introducing OPTILOGG into primary care is feasible and has the potential to help patients with heart failure to manage their condition," Liljeroos said.