Heart patients who maintain a healthy lifestyle can start earning discounts at shops or for trips out. The Tergooi Hospital is the first in the Netherlands to introduce this unique method that was co-developed by the research group headed by Professor of Health Psychology Andrea Evers and the Leiden University Medical Center.
Hundreds of patients at the Department of Cardiology at the Tergooi Hospital in Hilversum will be starting this telemonitoring method. They will take relevant measurements at home and enter the results online so that the doctor can monitor and assess their health remotely. Anactivity tracker is used to record the patient’s pulse and movements. The patients themselves have to record their blood pressure, weight and waist size. If the measurements diverge from the norm, the doctor receives a notification and contacts the patient. Physiotherapists, lifestyle specialists and dieticians support and guide the patients and the patients themselves can contact a specialist nurse directly using the monitoring tool.
Bonus points for healthy lifestyle
What is unique about this specific telemonitoring method is that patients are motivated to maintain a – more – healthy lifestyle. They earn bonus points for healthy choices, such as healthy food and drink, taking their medication on time and stopping smoking. They can exchange the points for discounts at gyms, shops, web shops and museums. This loyalty program was developed by the research group of Professor of Health Psychology Andrea Evers in partnership with the LUMC and eHealth company Vital10.
“By rewarding and actively encouraging healthy behavior, it’s easier for patients to work on their lifestyle and to keep this up in the long term,” Evers said.
Less reverting to bad habits
Karin Arkenbout, intervention cardiologist at the Tergooi Hospital, has high expectations of the method. “With the individual lifestyle coaching that this program offers, patients are less inclined to revert to their former bad habits.”
She is also pleased that Tergooi is the first hospital to introduce this method. “We want to make a significant contribution to improving the organization of and access to healthcare. If the trial is a success, we want to offer the program to all our heart patients next year.”
The project is part of the BENEFIT program, in which a number of hospitals, GP practices, universities and companies are working together to help patients structurally improve their lifestyle. This initiative is supported by the Netherlands Heart Foundation.
Marina Senten, head of Alliances, Science and Innovation at the Heart Foundation, said, “We want patients with cardio-vascular conditions to have the most effective treatment possible so that everyone can enjoy life to the full. It’s important that patients have a healthy lifestyle and take their medication on time. We encourage research on innovative methods and treatments, and BENEFIT is a good example of this.”