ASSEN – In February, the Wilhelmina Hospital Assen will begin home telemonitoring for patients with chronic heart failure. They will initially start with a group of twenty-five people. At the moment, these patients have to go regularly to the hospital to have their blood pressure and weight measured. With the help of a blood pressure monitor, a weighing scale, and a tablet or computer, this is now possible at home.
“We do not want patients to have to come to the hospital if it is not really necessary”, says project manager Tineke Ottens. “Most people can easily measure their blood pressure and weight, and fill out a questionnaire. This data is sent to a department with specially trained employees. If there are any uncertainties or questions, they then contact the patient via videocall. Subsequently, the heart failure nurses of the WZA have a central role to play.” In order to make telemonitoring a possibility, the WZA has teamed up with Luscii, the Dutch market leader in the field of home measurement. Luscii patient apps work on Apple, Android and Windows, and the company offers a helpdesk for the predominantly older patients, and even provides installation and explanation at home if necessary.
The benefits are great: the patient does not have to go repeatedly to the hospital and can organise his or her own agenda with much more freedom. The patient also has more insight into his or her own data: they can see their blood pressure level or weight for themselves. The fact that direct contact is available also gives a feeling of safety.
The patients taking part will first receive extensive instructions on how to use the equipment. “Even someone without experience of using a tablet or a computer can get started. Older people also often discover that they can do a lot more with the iPad. Sometimes a world opens up for them”, says Tineke Ottens.
Telemonitoring is a fantastic step in the development of eHealth: care via the internet. “We show that people can stay at home more safely and with total self-control through the use of remote expert care. Ultimately, that is what everyone prefers.” In addition to chronic heart failure, this form of telemonitoring can also be offered to people with COPD or sleep apnea in the future.