RELEASE-HF study: a protocol for an observational, registry-based study on the effectiveness of telemedicine in heart failure in the Netherlands

Jorna van Eijk*, Kim Luijken, Tiny Jaarsma, Johannes B. Reitsma, Ewoud Schuit, Geert W.J. Frederix, Lineke Derks, Jeroen Schaap, Frans H. Rutten, Jasper Brugts, Rudolf A. de Boer, Folkert W. Asselbergs, Jaap C.A. Trappenburg, RELEASE-HF Investigators

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Introduction:

Meta-analyses show postive effects of telemedicine in heart failure (HF) management on hospitalisation, mortality and costs. However, these effects are heterogeneous due to variation in the included HF population, the telemedicine components and the quality of the comparator usual care. Still, telemedicine is gaining acceptance in HF management. The current nationwide study aims to identify (1) in which subgroup(s) of patients with HF telemedicine is (cost-)effective and (2) which components of telemedicine are most (cost-) effective. 

Methods and analysis:

The RELEASE-HF ('REsponsible roLl-out of E-heAlth through Systematic Evaluation -Heart Failure') study is a multicentre, observational, registry-based cohort study that plans to enrol 6480 patients with HF using data from the HF registry facilitated by the Netherlands Heart Registration. Collected data include patient characteristics, treatment information and clinical outcomes, and are measured at HF diagnosis and at 6 and 12 months afterwards. The components of telemedicine are described at the hospital level based on closed-ended interviews with clinicians and at the patient level based on additional data extracted from electronic health records and telemedicine-generated data. The costs of telemedicine are calculated using registration data and interviews with clinicians and finance department staff. To overcome missing data, additional national databases will be linked to the HF registry if feasible. Heterogeneity of the effects of offering telemedicine compared with not offering on days alive without unplanned hospitalisations in 1 year is assessed across predefined patient characteristics using exploratory stratified analyses. The effects of telemedicine components are assessed by fitting separate models for component contrasts. 

Ethics and dissemination:

The study has been approved by the Medical Ethics Committee 2021 of the University Medical Center Utrecht (the Netherlands). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at (inter)national conferences. Effective telemedicine scenarios will be proposed among hospitals throughout the country and abroad, if applicable and feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere078021
JournalBMJ open
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024.

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