January 25, 2018

Telehealth program by Changi General Hospital and Philips empowers heart failure patients to be more confident and involved in managing their heart condition

  • Length of stay for heart failure-related readmissions shortened by 67 percent 
  • Total cost of heart failure-related care for each patient dropped by 42 percent

Singapore – The positive one-year results of the Heart Failure Telehealth program, piloted by Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), showed a 67 percent reduction in length of hospital stay for heart failure-related readmissions, a 42 percent reduction in costs of care, and an enhanced quality of care. The heart failure patients enrolled in the telehealth program benefitted from increased knowledge of their condition and improved self-care abilities, resulting in a greater confidence in managing their heart condition.


The experience obtained from this pilot contributed to the design and development of a national telehealth vital signs monitoring (VSM) project initiated by the Singapore Ministry of Health. Following the pilot, CGH will be participating in this national VSM project to enable CGH patients to receive care after discharge from hospital, as they return to their homes and the community.


150 heart failure patients from CGH were enrolled in the telehealth program between November 2014 and March 2016. They received telemonitoring support for one year and their results were compared against a group that received support only via phone calls. As a result of the program, patients had improved knowledge, confidence and ability to manage their heart failure condition. In addition to the timely detection of changes in their clinical condition,  the average length of stay for heart failure-related readmission over 12 months was reduced by 67 percent for heart failure patients under telemonitoring support compared to the group that only received support via phone calls (2.2 days vs 6.6 days).  

It is important for patients with chronic conditions to feel that they are empowered and in control of their own health as it increases their capacity to take action.

Dr. Sheldon Lee

Program Director and Consultant, Cardiology, CGH

“This program has helped me understand how to take better care of my health,” said Gan Hwee Sun, 76, who was enrolled in the program. “I am now more conscientious about healthy eating and being active. I am also very grateful to my telecarer for her concern and regular follow-ups with me. She has shared useful knowledge about heart failure, which has given me more confidence to manage my condition at home.”


With reduced heart failure related readmission, this translated to cost savings for both patients and hospitals. The costs for heart failure related admissions in a year for heart failure patients in the telemonitoring group was 42 percent (S$ 2,514) lower compared to patients that received support via telephone calls. 


“It is important for patients with chronic conditions to feel that they are empowered and in control of their own health as it increases their capacity to take action,” said Dr. Sheldon Lee, Program Director and Consultant, Cardiology, CGH. “Patients with greater knowledge of their conditions are more confident about self-care, and are more likely to comply with treatment plans. This naturally leads to reduced risk of complications that may necessitate readmission to CGH. We are delighted to see these encouraging results in the pilot and will continue to look into enhancing the program further so as to provide sustainable benefits for our patients in the long run.” 


“To meet the long-term demand for chronic care, we need to start shifting chronic disease management beyond hospital walls and into our patients’ home,” said Diederik Zeven, General Manager, Health Systems, Philips ASEAN Pacific. “Telehealth, where patients are remotely monitored at home, is a sustainable and scalable model that bridges the care delivery gap. At the same time, this care model also shows positive impact in treatment compliance which results in better quality of life for patients.”

About the Heart Failure Telehealth program

The Heart Failure Telehealth program was launched in November 2014 by CGH and Philips to help heart failure patients learn how to better manage their heart condition at home; reduce the risk of readmission and premature death. The program integrated three elements of care: tele-monitoring, tele-education and tele-care support via tele-nurses from Eastern Health Alliance Health Management Unit.


Heart failure patients in the telemonitoring group were provided a weight scale and blood pressure monitor to assist them in the daily measurement of their weight, pulse and blood pressure upon discharge from CGH. They also received a personal tablet to wirelessly capture these key vital parameters and to upload it to a central system for monitoring. Tele-nurses then remotely monitored participants’ vital readings and intervened when signs of deterioration were detected. To teach patients how to manage their diseases and ensure care compliance, there were also educational videos, e-quizzes and follow-up calls from tele-nurses.

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips' health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 73,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

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About Changi General Hospital

Changi General Hospital (CGH) is an award-winning public hospital with over 1,000 beds serving a community of 1.4 million people in eastern Singapore. CGH offers a comprehensive range of medical specialties and services, helmed by a highly experienced and skilled team of healthcare professionals who consistently deliver excellent health outcomes and care for patients. CGH is a member of the SingHealth cluster of healthcare institutions.

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Elaine Ng

Philips ASEAN Pacific

Ooh Yi Hui

Changi General Hospital

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