Surge in remote monitoring for cardiac patients due to COVID-19

Registered nurse Mary O’Sullivan working with a patient using the Medly app.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is working to double the capacity of Medly, a digital heart failure management program that monitors patients remotely.

To enhance patient care while avoiding visits to the hospital, the team has moved to providing virtual care as much as possible. By having more patients on Medly, there is an opportunity to offer virtual care on a 24/7 basis.

On March 1, 2020, there were just over 400 patients being cared for through Medly. Yet as information regarding the potential impact of COVID-19 was developing several weeks ago, Dr. Michael McDonald, Medical Director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre’s Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Program, began accelerating the patient onboarding. This way, patients could remain safe in their home while also have vital access to their care team. The goal is to double enrollment in a very short period of time.

The Medly app, a digital heart failure management program that monitors patients remotely.

A Canadian-first, Medly’s unique telemonitoring algorithm enables heart failure clinicians to rapidly assess and triage patients. Medly was co-created by Joe Cafazzo, executive director of UHN’s eHealth Innovation and Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and site lead for the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research. Through Medly, patients use a mobile app to record their daily weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and symptoms; measurements that are analyzed in real time by the algorithm. If a patient’s clinical status is deteriorating, an actionable feedback message is sent to the patient and the system alerts the care team back at the hospital.

While the long-term objective had always been to introduce more patients to Medly, the team quickly responded to what was becoming an emerging health concern for patients. Through extraordinary foresight and dedication, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is helping to ease the burden COVID-19 has thrust upon patients and their families.