An Internet-based, nurse-led treatment program helped improve certain risk factors for patients with vascular disease, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal, the Press Association/Google News reports (Press Association/Google News, 6/13).
For the study, researchers from the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands split 330 patients with vascular disease into two groups. While both groups received traditional care, the intervention group also received access to a website that:
- Provided data on individual risk factors; and
- Allowed for email communication with a nurse practitioner.
The Internet-based intervention helped patients receive monitoring and support to self-manage their condition (Byers, CMIO, 6/13).
On average, participants accessed the Web-based program 56 times annually, according to the study.
After one year, Framingham heart risk scores -- which predict the 10-year risk for coronary heart disease -- improved by 12% for the intervention group, compared with an 8% improvement for the control group.
While researchers said the Web-based program had a "small effect" on vascular risk factors, they noted that the intervention is "easy to implement at low cost and could be used for various groups of patients at high [cardiovascular] risk" (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 6/13).