Heart, Lung and Circulation
Original Article| Volume 22, ISSUE 5, P352-359, May 2013

A Pilot Study of the Feasibility of an Internet-based Electronic Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation (eOCR) Program in Rural Primary Care

Published:January 07, 2013DOI:


      Interventions that facilitate access to cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention programs are in demand.


      This pilot study used a mixed methods design to evaluate the feasibility of an Internet-based, electronic Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation (eOCR). Patients who had suffered a cardiac event and their case managers were recruited from rural primary practices. Feasibility was evaluated in terms of the number of patients enrolled and patient and case manager engagement with the eOCR website.


      Four rural general practices, 16 health professionals (cardiologists, general practitioners, nurses and allied health) and 24 patients participated in the project and 11 (46%) completed the program. Utilisation of the website during the 105 day evaluation period by participating health professionals was moderate to low (mean of 8.25 logins, range 0–28 logins). The mean login rate for patients was 16 (range 1–77 logins), mean time from first login to last (days using the website) was 51 (range 1–105 days). Each patient monitored at least five risk factors and read at least one of the secondary prevention articles. There was low utilisation of other tools such as weekly workbooks and discussion boards.


      It was important to evaluate how an eOCR website would be used within an existing healthcare setting. These results will help to guide the implementation of future internet based cardiac rehabilitation programs considering barriers such as access and appropriate target groups of participants.


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