First trial results of doc@HOME telemedicine system for cardiac patient monitoring released

Tallinn 01 October 2001Results of a medical trial that involved 50 hypertension patients under the doc@HOME health monitoring programme just have been published. The outcomes of the trial exceeded expectations and confirmed the usefulness of this unique telemedicine system for the treatment of cardiac patients. Cardiac diseases are the leading cause of death among the elderly population. Temporary work disability caused by those diseases costs employers billions of dollars each year. The European Union has recognised the threat of rapidly increasing health care costs and has indicated doc@HOME as a way to make disease management more efficient.

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According to Ardo Reinsalu, CEO of Docobo Ltd, the results of the trial were very encouraging and confirm the premise that the doc@HOME concept extends the treatment options for the majority of cardiac patients. "Although our primary goal was to study the usability of the system and to collect data for the further development process, we registered positive trends in the patients' cure effectiveness and quality of life measures", stated Mr. Reinsalu.

By the words of Mr. Reinsalu, one of the most remarkable results was the increase in the treatment efficiency from the more standard level of 5-10 percent to 37 percent. But the effects of the new cardiac monitoring system were even wider. "While Docobo helped patients to monitor their compliance and progress as well as weight and smoking habits, the rewarding results were when one of the patients quit smoking and most did methodically reduce weight, with one patient losing up to 15 kilograms", according to Mr. Reinsalu. He added that patients and doctors received the new system well.

The first stage of the longer trial lasted three months. Important symptoms and other health parameters of 50 hypertension patients were monitored and delivered to doctors who were using the doc@HOME system during the trial. For example measurements for blood pressure, ECG, and bodyweight were among the monitored data. In addition, the device asked patients for more detailed information such as quality of sleep, everyday stress, etc.

According to Dr. Margus Viigimaa, Head of the Cardiology Department of Tartu University Clinic, the new system gave a comprehensive overview of the patient's symptoms and made it possible to adjust treatment according to the collected data. "Average blood pressure among the study group dropped by 2 percent and average body weight decreased by 5 kilogram", stated Dr. Viigimaa. "Already marginal decrease in blood pressure and weight can significantly lower the risk of stroke among cardiac patients. Also the level of treatment efficiency of up to 37 percent can be considered positive. Other studies among the local population have shown treatment efficiency of around 5 percent."

The biggest advantage of home health care programmes is the patients' involvement in their treatment process, emphasised Ardo Reinsalu. He added: "As indicated by the anonymous feedback of patients, the highest benefit for the patients was the ability to control their own health." Moreover, the feedback shows that patients also appreciated the system's ability to motivate and regulate the behaviour of the patient. The results of the study have provided a lot of new information on which to develop the doc@HOME system further. In addition to the ongoing trial, a number of other trials are planned to take place at the end of 2002 in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

In January 2000, Docobo signed an agreement with the European Commission to support the further development work of the system with 1 million Euros. Since the project involves nine partners in four different countries, the system can be easily adapted to the local situation. The project has received additional financing from Docobo Ltd and from project partners.

Docobo Ltd is a telemedicine company with the goal to take better care of citizens while significantly lowering the cost of health care. Docobo uses the unique doc@HOME concept to allow people to take an active role in the medical treatment process. You can find more news about this project in the VMW May 2001 article Docobo Ltd and Tartu University start first trial of unique telemedicine system doc@HOME.


Leslie Versweyveld

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