Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global health concern and is associated with high human and fiscal costs. CVD management is complex with patients requiring ongoing management, multiple medications and targeted education. Cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRP) are multidisciplinary secondary prevention programs that aim to modify risk factors and improve health outcomes. Despite the known benefits, the uptake and completion of CRPs is poor. Geographical location is a key factor that influences attendance. To address this, we undertook a 16‐month mixed methods evaluation and randomized controlled trial of a virtual CRP (vCRP) with patients living in small urban and rural communities. Interviews with a diverse sample of 22 participants were undertaken to examine patient perspectives and to explore the experiences of high and low users. Of these, a total of 19 indepth interviews were selected and analyzed using a qualitative descriptive approach. An analysis of the data revealed that most participants who completed the vCRP experienced both clinical improvements and a high level of satisfaction. Participants described feeling more accountable and felt motivated to adopt healthy lifestyles and self‐care practices. Furthermore, some participants felt better prepared to communicate with healthcare providers and enjoyed being able to access support without the need for travel. Poor computer literacy and lack of time were key factors associated with low usage. Overall, the vCRP was described as an accessible, appropriate, convenient and effective way to deliver cardiac rehabilitation. Further research to explore the widespread integration of virtual CRPs would offer important insights and opportunities.
Banner, D., Lear, S., Kandola, D., Bates, J., Horvat, D., Ignaszewski, A., & Singer, J. (2017). THE EXPERIENCES OF PATIENTS UNDERGOING A VIRTUAL CARDIAC REHABILITATION PROGRAM. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 33(10), S221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2017.07.447