The Auckland District Health Board (ADHB), Gen-i (a member of the Telecom New Zealand Group) and Alcatel-Lucent have joined efforts to launch New Zealand’s first trial of a healthcare remote patient monitoring (RPM) solution using mobile technology to monitor and manage chronic illness in the home. The three-month trial focuses on 20 heart disease patients selected by Auckland Hospital.
During the trial, participants are provided with easy-to-use equipment to take daily measurements that are automatically transmitted via mobile phone to a secure online database monitored by the ADHB cardiac team. The equipment also lets patients monitor their own readings. The more frequent data collection will enable medical personnel to more quickly discover changes in health status, enabling quicker medical intervention when necessary, while making more productive use of face-to-face appointments. Once the initial trial results have been assessed, ADHB hopes to extend the program to patients with other chronic illnesses like diabetes.
Worldwide, remote patient monitoring technology is emerging as a cost and time effective tool to keep people with chronic conditions well and out of the hospital. The Alcatel-Lucent TeleHealth Manager allows patients to provide health data using devices they’re already familiar with (e.g., mobile phones) in a secure manner, while also providing reminders, alerts and online reports to help patients and their healthcare professionals better understand and manage their conditions. Gen-i is integrating the project’s delivery technologies and ADHB is supporting the medical care team with patient care specifications and training.
Auckland District Health Board Chief Funding and Planning Officer, Dr Denis Jury, says the innovative Telehealth monitoring system could improve health outcomes and enhance patients’ quality of life, while reducing costs and increasing clinical efficiencies for health providers. “The technology is emerging as a cost and time effective tool worldwide to help keep people with long term conditions well and out of hospital,” said Dr Jury.
Chris Quin, CEO of Gen-i, explains that faced with rapidly increasing numbers of patients with chronic illnesses, the health sector is looking for ways to consolidate specialists’ time and relieve pressure on them. “The Telehealth initiative combats both these issues while also providing positive health outcomes for patients. Gen-i and Telecom are well placed with the scale, technology and infrastructure to support the solution nationwide and through Gen-i’s existing relationships with DHBs and other health organisations.
Quin adds that mobile technologies provide a simple and cost effective platform for this approach. “Patients and health professionals are likely to be familiar with how to use a mobile phone, so set up and training is straight forward. The process is completed in a matter of seconds, providing near real-time monitoring and response,” he adds.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s work with Gen-i offers these trial patients a secure and reliable remote patient monitoring service that will afford them greater flexibility in the way that they manage their health and recovery, and we are confident that this application will prove beneficial to them and will be able to be replicated at many other medical centres,” said Steve Lowe, Head of Alcatel-Lucent’s business in New Zealand.