(photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal)

Kaiser Permanente virtual cardiac rehab program highlighted in WSJ


To help improve outcomes for patients who experience a cardiac event, Kaiser Permanente provided smartwatches to more than 2,300 patients in Southern California to remotely monitor their rehabilitation. The program was featured in an article published today in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted Kaiser Permanente Chief Information Officer Dick Daniels and Kaiser Permanente Southern California Chief Innovations and Transformation Officer Tad Funahashi, MD. Dr. Funahashi, who led the program’s development, is also an orthopedic surgeon with Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

The article quotes a study published in the journal NEJM Catalyst, which showed that 87% of participants completed Kaiser Permanente’s 8-week virtual rehab program using the wearables, compared with a less than 50% average completion rate for those attending in-person rehab programs. Studies have found that lifestyle modifications can improve outcomes for patients who have had cardiac events such as a heart attack.

In the program, patients use a Samsung smartwatch and an app to remind them of program goals, and results are sent remotely to their physicians and care team. Dr. Funahashi notes that the program’s purpose is not to monitor patients 24/7, but rather to serve as a virtual check-in for the physician.

“This one is not continuous monitoring,” Dr. Funahashi told the Wall Street Journal. “But it’s almost as though somebody’s calling you every day, all the time, to see what’s going on.”

Read the complete article on the Wall Street Journal site (subscription may be required).