Wireless sensors that monitor elderly patients’ physiological functions and physical activities can help reduce congestive heart failure symptoms and potentially prevent hospital readmissions, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Systems, InformationWeek reports.

Researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles Wireless Health Institute and the UCLA School of Nursing used a system called WANDA — Weight and Activity with Blood Pressure Monitoring — to track patients’ weight, blood pressure, physical activity and other data. The WANDA system:

  • Uses sensors to monitor patient health and collect relevant measures;
  • Transmits readings to Web servers that store and analyze data; and
  • Acts as a database server for backup and recovery purposes.

Study Findings

To participate in the study, patients had to have been hospitalized with a congestive heart failure-related condition within 30 days and be at least 65-years-old.

Researchers found a small but statistically significant reduction in abnormal readings of weight and blood pressure among elderly patients who used the system.

The frequency of readings outside an acceptable range for weight and blood pressure dropped by 5.6% when using the remote monitoring system.

According to researchers, that size reduction could significantly affect patient quality of life and health care spending.

The study’s authors note that remote, real-time monitoring can prevent emergency situations and alert patients’ caregivers when there is a problem. They write, “In order to design an effective remote health monitoring system for [congestive heart failure], it is important to make an automated, real-time system for checking important values such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate, daily activity and symptom responses” (Versel, InformationWeek, 6/20).