Indianapolis-area heart patients can now get needed medical care without leaving their homes. The St. Vincent Home Care Telemedicine programme is especially helpful for patients with congestive heart failure, many of whom are often in and out of the hospital for treatment. The programme is supported by a $50,000 grant from Purdue’s Regenstrief Centre for Healthcare Engineering and a $50,000 grant from St. Vincent Indianapolis Foundation. In-home monitoring equipment – using a traditional phone line – is used to assess a patient’s blood pressure, heart activity, weight and other vital statistics. St. Vincent provides the equipment, which looks like a fax machine, to measure vitals and send results to health-care providers at predetermined times. Because of the technology used, nurses can respond more quickly to changes in conditions, emergency room visits are reduced, and weekly interactions between patients and health providers are increased. Dr. Jon Rahman, chief medical officer at St. Vincent Health, said studies have shown that 30 to 47 percent of patients hospitalised for heart failure come back again within six months. The medical source revealed that with the proper rehabilitation, home support and monitoring, patients are less likely to return to the hospital, therefore maintaining a better quality of life.