European Market Report for Telehealth 2016 - MedCore
Telehealth solutions include the peripheral devices needed to monitor vital signs and collect data, systems for transmitting the data to the server, and software to display the data. Some common peripheral devices include blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, blood glucose monitors and pulse oximeters. The devices included with each solution will vary depending on the patients’ condition. Data from these devices may be transmitted using a telephone line, broadband, GSM and Bluetooth. This data is displayed using software systems which may be viewed by the patient, caregiver, clinician or physician, who can use this information to better manage an individual’s health. Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) refer to modern pacemakers, implantable loop recorders, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), cardiac resynchronization therapy devices (CRT-Ds), and hemodynamic monitors. Remote monitoring of these devices can help reduce the need for in-office follow up visits by ensuring that the device is working properly, and that the patient’s health status is normal. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a variety of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD experience difficulty breathing due to damage in the lungs, which is most commonly due to smoking. Treatment of COPD involves alleviating the symptoms and may include use of an inhaler. Lung damage is irreversible, so it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and monitor symptoms to prevent the patient’s condition from worsening. Diabetes mellitus, more commonly referred to as diabetes is a chronic condition caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. Normally sugar levels are controlled by insulin which is produced in the pancreas. In people with diabetes, the insulin may not work properly, or there may not be enough to effectively manage glucose levels in the blood. There is no cure for diabetes, but symptoms may be controlled through diet and lifestyle choices, insulin medication and monitoring. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic condition where an individual’s systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. People with hypertension are generally asymptomatic. However, this condition does increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, arterial aneurysms and kidney failure. Hypertension may be controlled through dietary and lifestyle changes or drug treatment. Heart conditions which can benefit from telehealth monitoring include chronic heart failure (CHF) or conditions which require a cardiac implant such as arrhythmias including bradycardia and tachycardia.
Bradycardia is characterized by a slow irregular heartbeat, usually less than 60 beats per minute. This slow heart rate makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough oxygen-rich blood through the body during normal activity or exercise. Bradycardia may be managed through implantation of a pacemaker.
Tachycardia is characterized by a heart rate that exceeds the normal range for a resting state, usually more than 100 beats per minute. This accelerated heart rate causes the heart to pump less efficiently than normal, and results in less blood flow through the body. Tachycardia may be managed through implantation of a pacemaker.
Pacemakers are small electrical devices that are implanted under the skin, usually on the right side of a patient’s chest. The pacemaker contains a battery and computer circuitry in a metal case to correct irregular rhythms. The pacemaker continuously monitors the heart, and if it detects a rhythm problem, it sends out an electrical signal to correct it.
Telehealth refers to the remote monitoring and clinical management of patient’s vital signs through use of devices in the home environment. Monitoring solutions are customized to suit the individual patient and allows them to better manage their health. Vital signs data are transmitted to a central server where information can be viewed by a clinician or the patient. This allows caregivers to monitor a patient’s condition and take appropriate action to manage health.
The goal of telehealth is to prevent hospital readmission, reduce in-office visits, and better manage health of individuals with long term conditions. As a result, it is important to consider the long term benefits to patients and cost savings to fully understand the value of this market.