Home monitoring of transplant patients

 
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Recovery after transplant operation

Allowing transplant patients to leave the hospital early and recover at home will be a routine practice around EU by 2030. New systems will include with an integrated camera, microphone and speakers for interactive video-conferences, patients will be monitored and supported from their homes, with the possibility of collecting biometric data, managing their treatment and offering face to face support via video conferencing.

Such telehealth monitoring systems will be important solutions, not only for early discharge from hospital, but also for better day-to-day monitoring of transplant patients, that can be carried out more frequently without patients going to the hospital for routine check-ups. This is particularly true in the first three months after a transplant, an extremely delicate moment from a clinical point of view, when patients need to be constantly connected with their healthcare team. Through a special kit, the device will allow for the periodic assessment of vital parameters (like blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen concentration) and the automatic entering of the results into the system.

The system actually enables a two-way dialogue between patients and the healthcare staff (medical practitioners, transplant coordinators, therapists and psychologists), making patients feel better monitored and allowing them to ask for immediate support. The system will not only collect biometric data, but also offer multimedia educational content concerning behavioural measures to be adopted at home and practical advice for a healthy lifestyle. Its touch screen will make it easy to use and suitable even for people without computer skills.

There are some case pilot projects already using the described technology. The major challenges remains in the side of social innovation. How to integrate such an approach in the hospital practices? On the other hand who will pay for the mainstreaming of such technologies and their proper use?

Ref. http://www.ehealthnews.eu/industry/3064-liver-transplant-patients-can-now-be-monitored-from-their-home

 

 

5 Responses to “Home monitoring of transplant patients”

  1.  
    • Great idea and good vision!
      As a work with pediatric patients undergoing a stem cell transplantation, this “after transplant monitoring” is very important for the outcome of the kids.
      Especially if they are living far away from the hospital (in Austria up to 600km) and they do not need a face to face treatment in the hospital it is a good idea to monitor them by a patient terminal. The challenge is even more to provide a platform to them where they can play and get “good emotions” during providing medical data or important information.
      Important would be also a movement detector (e.g sports game console or step recorder) to track their mobility during daytime. Movement is an important factor to prevent for example lung problems.
      The project INTERACCT tries to find a solution to pack all this good ideas together.
      If you want you can have a look there:
      http://www.interacct.at/project/publications.aspx
      But, as Wolfgang Hof mentioned, costs are very important. It will be necessary to persuade the insurance companies to cover tele/remote-treatment like face to face treatment.

       
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  4. In my opinion, the vision presented here is quite interesting although there are some important issues that need to be solved even before planning those systems. In my comment I will not mention all the positive aspects about this vision, as they are quite obvious. Generally, I am a supporter of using technology as described.
    The most obvious problem (as already stated) is money.
    Of course, those systems would save costs for health care systems (HCS) around the world as patients would be able to be discharged earlier. On the other hand, many people wouldn’t be able to afford the corresponding end devices. So a possible option is that the HCS themselves invest in the whole infrastructure and rent the devices to the patients for a small fee (or for free). Leaving the technology level, some time (money) has to be spent into training. In case this system is the only way to interact with patients, healthcare staff is required to understand the usage perfectly. Although the vision states that the end device offers a touch screen, maybe there will still be lots of patients who have to practice using it (will there be technical support?). I have to admit that patients in 2030 will be more opened and interested in this kind of technology than now, probably.
    Opposed to my introductory statement, I would like to focus on a certain positive thing. The “two-way” dialogue between transplant patients and healthcare staff is mentioned. Of course a transplant patient could show up at the hospital in person. But imagine the stressful job of healthcare staff – maybe they can even concentrate better on patients if they have something like a “communications room” and provide immediate support over video. Just an idea.
    Overall, great vision!

     

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