Next October, a voluntary programme will start to encourage patients suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF), to take their prescriptions at regular times. The initiative is a joint effort between the Mid Atlantic Medical Services Inc. (MAMSI), one of the leading managed care organizations in the United States, and InforMedix Inc., a developer of interactive telemedicine devices and the inventor of the Medi-Monitor unit. This little portable data-collector alerts the patient when it is time to take his medication and assesses both his general health status and quality of life. Every night, the information is electronically being transmitted to the patient's physician for review and analysis.
The evaluation project will take one full year, in which both companies hope to reduce the huge percentage of unnecessary medical expenses and wasted professional productivity because CHF patients and lots of people with other diseases tend to act rather careless when it comes to accurately following medication prescriptions. They have selected CHF as a typical high-risk and high-cost disease, one which frequently leads to hospitalization of elderly people and to chronic disability of the patient. The annual morality rate amounts to some 270.000 victims, while at least five million American citizens display symptoms of a weakened heart, unable to pump the blood in a sufficient way to the rest of the body.
The MAMSI health care organization will try to recruit its CHF members in Maryland and provide them with the Medi-Monitor device, which establishes the contact between the patient and the physician via a simple telephone line through the built-in modem. For research and statistical purposes, the data will equally be made available to selected case managers and consulting pharmacists. The monitoring unit includes a display screen, showing all the details of the patient's medications and health situation. The patient has to respond to a range of questions with regard to his medication, possible side effects, drug interactions, his quality of life, and his health status, just by entering the right data into the Medi-Monitor. This way of proceeding should enhance his sense of responsibility.