When is telehealth useful?

We are overwhelmed with mHealth apps that can measure, uh, EVERYTHING; from weight to temperature, from ECG to blood glucose level. At Vitaphone, we think these developments are great. But are they groundbreaking? We don’t think so! The follow-up of these readings is essential and that’s what’s missing in mHealth apps. It is not just the presentation of data; it’s about the translation of this data to relevant information for the user. We understand the need to combine the data results, but this requires research and improved statistics.

“Researchers from the Nuffield Trust found no change in contact frequency between patients being remotely monitored and those receiving standard care.” This finding, published in Biomedcentral Health Services Research, flies in the face of the opinion that widespread use of telehealth technologies will increase demands on primary care. But simultaneously, it fails to lend support to claims that telehealth cuts GP workload. The study suggests that it might have a more significant role to play in secondary rather than primary care. The authors did note that telehealth might have a different effect on workload if the system were designed differently.

The reaction of Graeme Duncan, the Group Director of PharmaTimes World News, is the same as ours. “It is not surprising that the technology alone makes no demonstrable difference in the service utilization. However the appropriate use of technology in a well understood and researched patient pathway can make a huge difference.”

When we look at our services, they are tools for care professionals and patients to get the best treatment right from their own home. The ECG service ensures that patients can report directly to their cardiologist if they feel an arrhythmia. Our other ECG services can even report automatically on pre-defined parameters. Our medication adherence support services ensure that patients and caregivers do not forget the medication. This service is also a powerful tool for care professionals to interfere if an error is made. The medical management gets insight of the medication adherence in their organization.

These examples show additional value to the biomedical info; and that’s what brings true value to healthcare.

Author: Indy Kavelaars @ Vitaphone Netherlands
Source: Pharmatimes

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