Telemedicine applied to heart failure patients is a tool for recording and providing remote transmission, storage and interpretation of cardiovascular parameters and/or useful diagnostic images to allow for intensive home monitoring of patients with advanced heart failure, or during the vulnerable post-acute phase, to improve patient's prognosis and quality of life. Recently, several meta-analyses have shown that telemedicine-supported care pathways are not only effective but also economically advantageous. Benefits seem to be substantial, with a 30-35% reduction in mortality and 15-20% decrease in hospitalizations. Patients implanted with cardiac devices can also benefit from an integrated remote clinical management since all modern devices can transmit technical and diagnostic data. However, telemedicine may provide benefits to heart failure patients only as part of a shared and integrated multi-disciplinary and multi-professional 'chronic care model'. Moreover, the future development of remote telemonitoring programs in Italy will require the primary use of products certified as medical devices, validated organizational solutions as well as legislative and administrative adoption of new care methods and the widespread growth of clinical care competence to remotely manage the complexity of chronicity. Through this consensus document, Italian Cardiology reaffirms its willingness to contribute promoting a new phase of qualitative assessment, standardization of processes and testing of telemedicine-based care models in heart failure. By recognizing the relevance of telemedicine for the care of non-hospitalized patients with heart failure, its strategic importance for the design of innovative models of care, and the many challenges and opportunities it raises, ANMCO and SIC through this document report a consensus on the main directions for its widespread and sustainable clinical implementation.
- Journal Article