Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Louisiana. For February’s American Heart Month, Louisianians should monitor their risk factors and see doctors for help in managing them.
A real danger remains that many people believe bad things won’t happen to them. They may have multiple risk factors (e.g. smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure), but ignore them.
“People don’t recognize or appreciate the importance of being evaluated,” said Dr. Lance LaMotte, interventional cardiologist for Baton Rouge Cardiology Center. “If you have the risk factors, you should take the initiative to have the appropriate screenings.”
While any screening is preferable to none, in the past, one limitation was that at-risk patients would often only see their doctor three or four times a year. At Ochsner Health System, Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Dr. Richard Milani developed an app to aid physicians and patients in monitoring heart health.
When patients sign up, they receive a wireless blood pressure cuff and fill out clinical and social information. With the remote monitoring, doctors receive data on their patients three to four times a week instead of a couple of times a year.
“We’re able to course correct much quicker,” said Dr. Milani.
The results have been great so far. Over 700 patients have the app and Dr. Milani expects that number will climb to 1,000 shortly. Within 90 days, 71 percent of patients with previously uncontrollable hypertension had it under control.
The increased feedback has also led to increased engagement among patients in monitoring their heart health.
“We’re getting patients more involved in their heath care,” said Dr. Milani.
louisiana heart disease by the numbers (2014)