Thrive by IU Health

October 26, 2023

Home is where the heart is

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital

Home is where the heart is

Cardiac patients who participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program have a higher quality of life and reduced mortality rate. Nonetheless, only about 30% of cardiac patients typically engage in rehab. Why this low rate of participation? Barriers.

Some folks lack transportation. Others can’t coordinate rehab with their job or childcare schedules. Still others might live too far from the hospital for three-times-a-week rehab sessions. Even patients willing to participate might hit a barrier: a three-to-four-week delay before space is available in the program.

Working to remove such barriers is Katrina Riggin, MS, manager of Cardiac Ancillary Services in the East Central Region (ECR).

Her cardiopulmonary rehab team has found the solution to these challenges in the new At-Home Hybrid Cardiopulmonary Rehab Service—a program that leverages technology to connect with patients remotely, monitoring progress, sharing information, coaching them through physical rehab and more. The philanthropy-funded program helps patients work past barriers that keep them from returning to the hospital for on-site rehabilitation.

Katrina Riggin, MS, manager of Cardiac Ancillary Services in the East Central Region
Katrina Riggin, MS, manager of Cardiac Ancillary Services in the East Central Region

“We are helping more patients than ever before,” said Riggin.

The program utilizes a software platform that connects the care team with patients in their homes. With a dashboard that monitors key indicators in real-time, the digital tool allows the care team to interact with patients during their home exercise sessions.

If the patients have internet connections, they can connect their smart phone, tablet or computer to the system, as well as tools for monitoring blood pressure, heart rate and other indicators.

If patients don’t have access to the internet, they can record information manually, and a community paramedic will visit once a week to gather data and check on the patient. This is especially helpful, Riggin said, in rural areas where internet connectivity is sparse.

Created as an ECR pilot that could be spread to all IU Health facilities, the home-based hybrid cardiopulmonary rehab program is also being implemented in our South Central Region, which means it soon will be removing barriers to care all over the state—ensuring that more and more Hoosiers can have successful longer-term positive health outcomes.

If you'd like to make a gift, contact IU Health Foundation Development Officer Ashley Pleasant at 317.963.9035.