Telehealth Programs

Heart failure patients in the Telehome Monitoring program use a simple wireless package to measure and transmit key health indicators to nurses at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The devices include a blood pressure monitor, weight scale and optional pulse oximeter, all connected via tablet.Patients at the Heart Institute may use one or more of the programs offered through the Cardiac Telehealth department:

Telemedicine

If you live a significant distance from Ottawa, you may be eligible to see your Heart Institute healthcare providers “virtually” through the Telemedicine Program. Instead of driving to the Heart Institute for a consultation, you can go to a designated local hospital or community health centre. There, video-conferencing equipment lets you and Heart Institute physicians have a virtual appointment.

What to Expect

At your virtual appointment, there will be an examination camera, a digital stethoscope, and a nurse in the room, allowing a full set of assessments to be made remotely. Scheduling an appointment through the Telemedicine Program can help you save the time and cost of travel to the Heart Institute.

In addition to doctors, other specialists at the Heart Institute are available for telemedicine appointments, including:

  • Physiotherapists
  • Smoking cessation experts
  • Prevention specialists
  • Rehabilitation specialists

If you are a patient at the St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay, at the Seaway Valley Community Care Centre in Cornwall, or at the Winchester or Almonte General Hospitals you can participate in a telemedicine-linked rehabilitation program. In this program, you can exercise in your home community along with participants at the Heart Institute.

Talk to your primary care provider if you are interested in participating in the Heart Institute’s telemedicine services. A request can be made on your behalf to be seen by Telemedicine.

Interactive Voice Response

The Heart Institute’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is an automated calling system. It provides support for patients post- discharge from the Heart Institute as they adapt to managing their health after returning home. The calls from the IVR system assist with making sure that:

  • Your symptoms are being managed
  • You are taking your required medications
  • You are performing self-care at home, as needed
  • If you are diabetic, your diabetes is under control

You may use the IVR system after leaving the Heart Institute if:

  • You underwent cardiac surgery: All patients discharged from the Heart Institute after cardiac surgery receive IVR calls on day 3 and day 10 after they return home. The calls help to ensure any symptoms are under control during the period between your discharge from the Heart Institute and your next appointment with your regular doctor.
  • You were treated for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or heart attack: All patients treated for ACS or a heart attack receive six IVR calls per year after leaving the Heart Institute. These calls help ensure that you are taking the medication required to keep you healthy after treatment.
  • You were treated for mild or moderate heart failure: Patients with mild to moderate heart failure receive IVR calls every two weeks for three months after leaving the Heart Institute. These calls help guide your self-care at home and prevent readmission to the hospital.

You do not need to wait by the phone for your IVR calls. The system calls up to six times over two days to reach you for each scheduled call. The caller ID readout will say “Heart Check.” If you cannot be reached by the IVR system after two days, a nurse in the Telehealth Program will follow up with you.

Telehome Monitoring

If you have been treated for advanced heart failure at the Heart Institute, you may be enrolled in the Heart Institute’s Telehome Monitoring Program. The program will provide you with home health monitoring equipment to transmit important daily information, such as your vital signs, to the Heart Institute. For more information, see the Telehome Monitoring page.

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