Internet counselling is being used to manage such diseases as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dementia.
Internet counselling is a new way to manage patients using the internet and a desktop computer, tablet, or laptop. In a study published in Lancet Digital Health, internet counselling was used to manage cardiovascular disease. The study included a total of 2724 participants over the age of 65 from Finland, France, and the Netherlands.
At the beginning of the study, participants were invited through a telephone screening. Next, they were welcomed in person where they had their blood pressure was taken and body mass index assessed. Their medical history and list of medications were noted. They were also made to fill out a series of online questionnaires. A geriatric depression scale was used to determine depression and anxiety, and whether they adhered to a Mediterranean diet. Blood was taken from the participants to assess lipids, glucose, and glycosylated haemoglobin. All measurements were repeated at the end of the study, to determine whether there was any change over the study period of 18 months.
Blood pressure was lower in the intervention group than the control group. Symptoms of anxiety decreased more in the intervention group than the control group. Stroke incidence was lower in the intervention group than the control group at 0.3% vs 1.0%. The total number of logins was 59,441 for the intervention group vs 17,014 for the control group. The results showed that there was a modest reduction in cardiovascular risk after 18 months due to internet counselling. This was mostly because of a reduction in body mass index. Also, changes in lifestyle such as smoking also affected cardiovascular risk.
The results of the study suggest that internet counselling may be a good way to manage cardiovascular disease. Internet counselling can be beneficial in reducing habits such as smoking and obesity that could also potentially lead to cardiovascular disease. This low-cost and easily accessible intervention may provide benefit for cardiovascular disease patients.
Written by Katrina F. Zafer, BSc
- Richard, E., Moll van Charante, E. P., Hoevenaar-Blom, M. P., Barbera, M., Van der Groep, A. (2019) Healthy Ageing Through Internet Counselling in the Elderly (HATICE): a Multinational, Randomised Controlled Trial. The Lancet Digital Health
Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay