Use of Digital Technology for Heart Failure Patients

Submitted by Jason Ancer RN

Tags: heart attack heart failure technology

Use of Digital Technology for Heart Failure Patients

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Jason Ancer is a Clinical Registered Nurse in the Critical Care Division at Tampa General Hospital.

In today's world of information at your finger tips, digital technology is leading the way. We now gather our information from technology like the internet, via our smart phones, tablets or computers, much more so then printed books, articles or newspapers. Our healthcare information is sought after the same way, digital technology. Our patients, at discharge, are given paperwork containing instructions as well as education on their disease process; however, most of the time they have already been on the internet educating themselves. Many legit websites exist pertaining to heart failure (HF), but must be crossed checked to validate its content. 

Heart Failure Webpage 

One of the most recognized areas of information gathering is on online, in particular, web pages. "85% of Americans are online" (Weaver, Lindsay, & Gitelman, 2012, para. 3). American Heart Association (AHA) has a patient-friendly easy to read webpage that provides education for the patient with heart failure. You can view this website through any means that can access the internet. It also offers a mobile site when accessed via a smart phone or tablet. This allows for access to health information at the convenience of the patient; no matter if they are sitting in the doctor's office waiting or if they are riding in the care to the doctor's office, they can view this site to gain as much knowledge while they are waiting. Websites, like American Heart Association, allow for patient interaction and customization, which help facilitate patient learning via; videos, graphs and animations ( Cassano, 2015, para. 6-7). There is also an option to contact a help line for further inquires. One study shows that 35% of online e-nurse participants exchanged emails for online health correspondence, and 88% wanted to further correspond via email (Weaver et al., 2012, table 5). When given the right modality to participate, the patient will show interest; which, in turn will engage the patient more in their own healthcare decision making. The AHA webpage, that is readily accessed via the internet, is the most appropriate clinical application to address the concerns of the following patient profile. 

Patient Profile 

The patient is a 62 year old Caucasian male, office manager, who had a recent heart attack and now is a newly diagnosed HF patient with and ejection fraction of 35%. He has a history of moderate alcohol use, hypertension, diabetes, and smoking. He states he uses a computer daily, as well as on his smart phone, being an office manager and is very computer literate. He accesses the internet daily as part of his job. The patient is enthusiastic about being able to access a webpage in order for him to better understand his disease process and to also get education on how to live with HF. Being able to have mobile access is of importance to him. He states that every night before bed he surfs the web for causal use, but now he can learn more about HF. The patient states that he always has access to the internet; even if the internet went down at home he is able to get online for free at work. 

Validation Method 

Of the many websites available for the HF patient to access, AHA website was the one chosen by this patient. Even though AHA is very reputable, it still needs to go through a vetting process. The TRUTHFUL method was chosen for this process due to its unique application to websites .. TRUTHFUL is an acronym.

  • "T", technical characteristics of the web page: there are several videos and different links for the user to view and are easy to access. The information is up-to-date as of this year, 2016. There is also an interactive symptom tracking section that lets the user enter data to see how their HF status is trending.
  • "R", rated and reviewed: AHA has been reviewed by the National Health Council as well as been given an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (site).
  • "U", understanding of the pages purpose: the following was identified at the bottom of home page: "Our mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all we do. The need for our work is beyond question".
  • "T", treatments recommended: All treatments that are recommended are only to be followed in conjunction with a physician.
  • "H", have you seen this information before?:
  • "F", funding: AHA receives funding from donations, online shop, as well as various advertisers on the web page. They also receive a lot of volunteer help.
  • "U", is personal information shared: No personal information is asked for unless applying for a career or volunteer, in which case it only stays within the company.
  • "L", legitimacy of the sources: AHA was founded by 6 cardiologists in 1924 which now has over 22.5 million volunteers and funds many initiatives in cardiovascular research. AHA also plays a big role in public healthcare policie(site). Also, AHA has an extensive leadership structure that consists of doctors that have run the company from its first days of inception(site). 


Digital technology will continue to drive healthcare further in the upcoming years. One of the technologies, web pages, will expedite this advancement. More and more Americans have free access to the internet. In return, it is easier to direct patients to these websites to provide supplemental education on their healthcare needs. AHA website has proven that it can be a reliable source for the HF patient after being validated using the TRUTHFUL method. Its ease of use and abundance of information make it one of the top websites to recommend to HF patients to successfully guide them through their disease process. 


  1. Cassano, C. (2015, March 27). Interactive technology is shaping patient education and improving patient experience. Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses. Retrieved from
  2. Weaver, B., Lindsay, B., & Gitelman, B. (2012, September). Communication technology and social media: opportunities and implications for healthcare systems. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17.