The European TeleCheck-AF project on remote app-based management of atrial fibrillation during the COVID-19 pandemic: centre and patient experiences

This article was originally published here

Europace. 2021 Apr 2:euab050. doi: 10.1093/europace/euab050. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

AIMS: TeleCheck-AF is a multicentre international project initiated to maintain care delivery for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) during COVID-19 through teleconsultations supported by an on-demand photoplethysmography-based heart rate and rhythm monitoring app (FibriCheck®). We describe the characteristics, inclusion rates, and experiences from participating centres according the TeleCheck-AF infrastructure as well as characteristics and experiences from recruited patients.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Three surveys exploring centre characteristics (n = 25), centre experiences (n = 23), and patient experiences (n = 826) were completed. Self-reported patient characteristics were obtained from the app. Most centres were academic (64%) and specialized public cardiology/district hospitals (36%). Majority of the centres had AF outpatient clinics (64%) and only 36% had AF ablation clinics. The time required to start patient inclusion and total number of included patients in the project was comparable for centres experienced (56%) or inexperienced in mHealth use. Within 28 weeks, 1930 AF patients were recruited, mainly for remote AF control (31% of patients) and AF ablation follow-up (42%). Average inclusion rate was highest during the lockdown restrictions and reached a steady state at a lower level after easing the restrictions (188 vs. 52 weekly recruited patients). Majority (>80%) of the centres reported no problems during the implementation of the TeleCheck-AF approach. Recruited patients [median age 64 (55-71), 62% male] agreed that the FibriCheck® app was easy to use (94%).

CONCLUSION: Despite different health care settings and mobile health experiences, the TeleCheck-AF approach could be set up within an extremely short time and easily used in different European centres during COVID-19.

PMID:33822029 | DOI:10.1093/europace/euab050