Wireless Remote Home Monitoring of Vital Signs in Patients Discharged Early After Esophagectomy: Observational Feasibility Study

Martine Breteler*, Lieke Numan, Jelle P. Ruurda, Richard van Hillegersberg, Sylvia van der Horst, Daan Dohmen, M.C. van Rossum, Cor J. Kalkman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Hospital stays after major surgery are shorter than ever before. Although enhanced recovery and early discharge have many benefits, some complications will now first manifest themselves in home settings. Remote patient monitoring with wearable sensors in the first days after hospital discharge may capture clinical deterioration earlier but is largely uncharted territory.
This study aimed to assess the technical feasibility of patients, discharged after esophagectomy, being remotely monitored at home with a wireless patch sensor and the experiences of these patients. In addition, we determined whether observing vital signs with a wireless patch sensor influences clinical decision making.
In an observational feasibility study, vital signs of patients were monitored with a wearable patch sensor (VitalPatch, VitalConnect Inc) during the first 7 days at home after esophagectomy and discharge from hospital. Vital signs trends were shared with the surgical team once a day, and they were asked to check the patient’s condition by phone each morning. Patient experiences were evaluated with a questionnaire, and technical feasibility was analyzed on a daily basis as the percentage of data loss and gap durations. In addition, the number of patients for whom a change in clinical decision was made based on the results of remote vital signs monitoring at home was assessed.
Patients (N=20) completed 7 days each of home monitoring with the wearable patch sensor. Each of the patients had good recovery at home, and remotely observed vital signs trends did not alter clinical decision making. Patients appreciated that surgeons checked their vital signs daily (mean 4.4/5) and were happy to be called by the surgical team each day (mean 4.5/5). Wearability of the patch was high (mean 4.4/5), and no reports of skin irritation were mentioned. Overall data loss of vital signs measurements at home was 25%; both data loss and gap duration varied considerably among patients.
Remote monitoring of vital signs combined with telephone support from the surgical team was feasible and well perceived by all patients. Future studies need to evaluate the impact of home monitoring on patient outcome as well as the cost-effectiveness of this new approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR Perioperative Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date22 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020


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