Sensors help Samsung, Kaiser Permanente implement home-based cardiac rehab

Samsung smart watches
Samsung Electronics and Kaiser Permanente successfully initiated a home-based cardiac rehab program that pairs Samsung’s smart watches with Samsung’s HeartWise application. (samsung-smartwatch.com)

A joint home-based cardiac rehabilitation initiative between Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Kaiser Permanente, has so far shown promising results, according to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst.

The digital health care program, which relies on optical sensors in Samsung’s Gear 3 and Galaxy Watch smart watches, produced hospital readmission rates of less than 2%, compared to average hospital readmission rates for similar conditions of approximately 10-15%. According to the article, the program achieved an 87% patient completion rate, which is a 74% improvement over center-based rehabilitation programs.

“This program took a fresh, digital-first approach to cardiac rehabilitation and put control in patients’ hands,” said Peter Koo, Corporate SVP and Head of the Health Service Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics, in a statement. “It produced higher program completion rates than programs requiring excessive trips to the doctor’s office.”

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The Kaiser Permanente program, according to the NEJM article, enrolled more than 2,300 patients and more than 80% of the program’s participants completed the program, compared with a national average of less than 50% completion. Kaiser Permanente is now considering expanding the program beyond Southern California.

The solution paired commercially available Samsung’s smart watches that have built-in optical sensors—Gear S3 and the Galaxy Watch—with Samsung’s HeartWise application to track each patient’s daily heart rate and activities. A report of patients’ activities was logged directly to their physician’s dashboard used to set exercise goals and monitor patients’ progress.

“For this initiative, we took a human-centered design approach and began by examining the problem through the lens of our users and then built a digital solution to fit the needs of our users,” Koo added. “Bringing together wellness, engineering and user experience minds enabled us to address this problem with a fresh perspective, and produce an innovative, secure and engaging user-centric solution.”

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