Imagine you have a chronic disorder, COPD, diabetes, or heart failure, and need regular medical follow-up. Imagine being able to get the necessary medical supervision at your home, every day. Imagine how secure it would feel to know that your health status could be monitored and evaluated every day without having to consult a doctor or hospitalized.
This is what is happening in the Norwegian health sector right now. Every day, new patients are offered telemedicine follow-up from the health service in their municipality.
Siemens Healthineers provides a system for follow-up of patients with various chronic disorders where the patient himself or herself issues regular reports of his or her health condition directly to the municipality’s health personnel.
Thorvald Floden at Siemens Healthineers explains: “The whole thing comes in a suitcase containing a tablet and what is needed for measuring equipment, e.g., pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, blood glucose meter, weight, or thermometer. Home care delivers the suitcase at home to the patient and provides training, which in parenthesis is a very simple affair, because the system is intuitive and has a clear user interface.”
All the equipment is set up, so the patient enters the tablet, as agreed with the health care professional, and answers several control questions on the topic “How do you feel today?” For example, for a COPD patient, it may be about whether the patient is feeling leaner, has more mucus, is more breathless and the like.
In addition to answering questions, the patient will be asked to use some of the measuring equipment, upon which measurement data and answers will be sent to the system. The central office receives the patient’s answers and values and, if necessary, will contact the patient on the telephone or video conference, and possibly they can also request a doctor’s visit or ambulance.”
The most important aspect has been to make the use as simple as possible for the patient.
Sorasec has designed and delivered the UEM (Unified Endpoint Management) system, which is the central tool that controls the use of the tablet. The most important thing has been to make the use as simple as possible for the patient. That means the tablet is dedicated to this one purpose and cannot be used for web browsing or anything else. Furthermore, it means that users only see exactly what they need – there are no technical challenges or complicated procedures. When the board is registered in the system, it is ready for use and the patient can begin reporting to the central health service of the municipality.
The data security is maintained by the app used in the system sending all encrypted to the data center, and no data remains locally on the tablet of the patient.
Currently, many tablets are being used by patients, and the number is growing rapidly, as municipalities and others see the potential. Thorvald Floden continues: “The development is explosive, and new municipalities are constantly emerging. So far, the system is careful to monitor disease. In the future, we will surely see an AI component that, for example, could predict the need for hospitalization of the patient. It is really just the imagination that sets the limits for what such a system could do in the future!”
Several municipalities in Agder are well underway to test out telemedical follow-up of patients with chronic illness. Savings for the entire chain.
Read more about the project at telma.no. In Denmark, they use the same system and have come a little further on their journey. TeleCare Nord (North Jutland) has documented great savings by following up patients in this way – Read more here.