Heart Failure Management via Telemedicine

Mariavittoria Pitzalis, MD, PhD, Omur Cinar Elci, MD, Ruth Little, MPH, Muge Akpinar-Elci, MD, Angela Mayo, PharmD, Lloyd Novick, MD, and Wayne Cascio, MD
Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Greenville, NC

Gloria Jones and Scott Simmons, MS
ECU Telemedicine Center

Project Description

This project is aimed at establishing a coordinated system of healthcare communication and information overcoming geographic barriers and promoting service delivery in Pitt, Hertford, and Edgecombe counties and surrounding areas. In particular, we would like to achieve the following:

  • Improve adherence to evidence-based HF management guidelines among primary care providers
  • Increase survival and quality of life, and decrease HF hospitalizations and health care costs in rural eastern NC.

Our philosophy is to integrate high-tech communication with high-touch human interaction. The model is designed to share HF resources located at the Brody School of Medicine/Pitt County Memorial Hospital HealthSteps HF Clinic (Hub) with the primary care physicians or other healthcare providers working with or in the Spokes. The Spokes, represented at the beginning by the Medical Pavilion in Greenville, the Heritage Hospital in Tarboro and the Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie, are connected with the Hub by telemedicine network which will be used to disseminate new treatment strategies, transmit real-time data, request consultations, provide patient education, and allow close follow-up of selected patients. Each Spoke guarantees the continuity of care interacting not only with the Hub but also with the Primary Care Providers.

This collaboration will allow sharing of optimal management protocols, referral to the hub for specialized interventions, and most importantly, encourage patient management at the local level.

Expected Results:

  • Change in behavior (i.e., increase the number of patients who weigh daily, adhere to a low sodium diet, engage in physical activity);
  • Optimization of medication prescription and patient adherence to treatment;
  • Reduction in hospitalizations, ED visits, 30 day hospital readmissions and lengths of hospital stay;
  • Reduction of cost per person per year;
  • Development of large-scale programs to close treatment gaps for underserved regions and patients with heart failure.

For more information, please contact:

Mariavittoria Pitzalis, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine and Director of Heart Failure Program
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
Greenville, NC  27834
Telephone: (252) 847-0390