The PROCARD research group at the Department of Heart Disease, Haukeland University Hospital is, together with collaboration partners, developing a digital cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programme, eCardiacRehab. After a pilot period, this eCardiacRehab can be offered and implemented at all hospitals that perform percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

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eCardiacRehab builds on and is informed by previously published work from the CONCARDPCI study (over 3000 patients enrolled), including a systematic review on modes of e-Health delivery in secondary prevention programmes for patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), qualitative studies, and quantitative studies.

Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is a class I recommendation in European and American guidelines as it reduce mortality, readmissions, and psychological distress, and improve self-management, health related quality of life and physical capacity in patients with coronary artery disease. 

In Norway, more than 12,000 patients undergo PCI every year. These patients live with a chronic heart disease, with implications for patients, clinicians, healthcare systems and the society. The majority of these patients (70 -80 %), are offered no CR due to high patient volume and few CR programmes. Furthermore, the rapid development of COVID-19 provokes a need to re-think modes of healthcare delivery and to move beyond traditional place-based CR and embrace electronic health resources that connect care through the internet and related technologies. 

The eCardiacRehab project will make CR available to all patients undergoing PCI by taking advantage of new technological solutions and collaboration across different disciplines.

Health benefits

This innovative eCardiacRehab can meet the rehabilitation needs of large patient groups, regardless of their access to traditional place-based CR. eCardiacRehab is a digital CR programme aimed at strengthening patients’ self-management with regards to lifestyle changes, rehabilitation and prevention of CAD. Patients will be offered eCardiacRehab after referral from a doctor. eCardiacRehab will be accessible via a secure (safety level 4) and password-protected internet site for use on a computer, smartphone or tablet. We work closely with the section for eHealth and Helse Vest IKT in development of the digital solution. In addition, the solution provides secure digital communication between patient and healthcare provider. 

We have emphasized user involvement in the planning and design of the eCardiacRehab. The educational and informational materials offered in the eCardiacRehab includes tailored counselling, and health information according to patients' preferences, e.g., written material adapted to appropriate reading level, and use of visual elements and videos. The eCardiacRehab is developed in an interdisciplinary team to ensure that the information material is research-based and up-to-date. 

eCardiacRehab has the potential to improve interaction and collaboration between primary and secondary care, modernise and digitalise work processes, and to develop more coherent and tailored patient pathways. Furthermore, eCardiacRehab will reduce the variation in quality and availability of CR and improve patient pathways.

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