Mobile health (mHealth) could improve the outcome of grown-up patients with congenital heart disease (GUCH) and reduce their emergency care utilisation. Inappropriate use of mHealth, however, can lead to data overload for professionals and unnecessary data collection for patients, increasing the burden for both. We aimed to determine the clinical characteristics of patients with high emergency care utilisation and to test whether these patients were willing to start using mHealth.
Clinical characteristics and emergency care utilisation of consecutive GUCH patients who visited one of the two participating cardiologists at the outpatient clinic of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam were studied retrospectively. All patients were approached to fill in an mHealth questionnaire. A frequency of three or more emergency visits in 5 years was defined as high emergency care utilisation.
In total, 202 consecutive GUCH patients who visited one of the two participating cardiologists were studied. Median age was 41 years, 47% were male, and 51% were symptomatic. In the previous 5 years, 134 emergency visits were identified. Of all patients, 8% had high emergency care utilisation. High emergency care utilisation was associated with patients being symptomatic, using antiarrhythmic drugs or diuretics. In total, 75% of all patients with high emergency care utilisation were willing to start using mHealth.
GUCH patients who are symptomatic, those on antiarrhythmic drug therapy and those on diuretics are suitable candidates for enrolment in future mHealth initiatives because of both high care utilisation and high motivation to start using mHealth.