Singapore-based leading long-term care technology solutions provider Napier Healthcare Solutions has announced the completion of a study on the effectiveness of tele-health in the management of chronic illness among the elderly. With increasing focus on Smart Health and Smart Nation initiatives in Singapore, the study focussed on chronic illnesses among the elderly in the Chai Chee community in Singapore.
The study was done with the support of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and local community healthcare provider SATA CommHealth. It is based on a tele-health trial that began in August 2016 and ended in February 2017, and tracked the health condition of 45 recruited patients (aged between 45 and 78 years) with a medical history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus or both. In addition, 15 elderly patients with degenerative joint diseases (such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis) received tele-rehabilitation services.
Using Napier Healthcare’s advanced tele-health solution (Napier Remote Patient Monitoring, RPM) installed in their homes, they were required to take their blood pressure, blood glucose level, heart rate and weight every day for each phase of the study.
Key findings from the study include the following:-
- 15 patients who were common to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the study were observed to have an improvement in all their vitals.
- The greatest impact of tele-health was on blood glucose level and diastolic blood pressure. The correlative values for these two indicate that their chances of improvements due to tele-health in blood glucose levels and blood pressure increased over a period of six months.
- Improvement registered in the mean values of blood glucose level and blood pressure with tele-consultation was up to 5% better than that achieved without tele-consultation across both phases.
- The 15 patients who received tele-rehabilitation services registered a marked improvement in their condition and had fewer complaints about their joint problems after their seven-week trial.
- Getting the elderly to use tele-health equipment is not exceptionally challenging. About 91% of the patients in the study agreed that the equipment was easy to use, and 77% would recommend the program to their families and friends.
- More than 95% were satisfied with the program over the two phases.
The study concluded that:
- Tele-health services (tele-monitoring, teleconsultation and tele-rehabilitation) improve the overall health of the elderly over time.
- The incorporation of tele-consultation yields even better results than tele-health services that require patients to manage their own monitoring routines.
- The elderly require relatively more time to adapt to the use smart medical devices and receiving tele-health services.
- The elderly are most likely to want to continue using tele-health services for management of their conditions, after a brief initial period (typically one to two weeks) of adaptation.
These findings appear to validate long-held assumptions that the use of tele-health can improve the condition of chronic illness sufferers even as it lowers the cost of care, and is welcomed by both healthcare providers and patients. It reinforces the idea that tele-health can play a significant role in enabling the “right-siting” of affordable, high-quality healthcare services–delivering them directly into the communities they serve–as discussed in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech on Universal Health Coverage in 2015.
At the same time, it is in line with the Government’s population enablement programme under the National Health IT Master Plan shared by the Minister of Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, in May this year. Tele-health was cited as an essential platform for effecting the Singapore healthcare sector’s shift away from institution-based towards home and community care, and as a “workforce multiplier” to heighten its productivity and care provisioning capacity.
“This is the first time that any leading healthcare IT vendor in Asia has carried out field trials on the effectiveness of tele-health among the elderly population,” said Tirupathi Karthik, CEO, Napier Healthcare. “We thank the IMDA for their substantial support for the usage trials behind this and look forward to being part of more national initiatives in future. Also, the dedication and professionalism of the clinical staff at SATA CommHealth was a major contributory factor in achieving the success in this study.” He further noted that the conclusive findings of the study pointed to the need for increased adoption of tele-health technology.
“Digital healthcare will have a significant role to play in caring for our population and ageing in place. It will also help reduce hospitalisation and enable the primary care sector to better manage chronic diseases in the community,” said Dr K Thomas Abraham, CEO, SATA CommHealth. “The digital healthcare revolution is an innovative and effective way to enhance the care of our patients with technologies like telehealth vital signs monitoring, tele-consultations and tele-rehabilitation. With constant monitoring, advice by healthcare professionals, suitable interventions and tele-consultations, we can achieve better healthcare outcomes. Moreover, with subsidies for those who need help, we can leverage on virtual healthcare, for example tele-health, to improve the health status of our population, especially those with chronic conditions”.
The final report from this study is available upon request via e-mail to Napier Healthcare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAPIER REMOTE PATIENT MONITORING (RPM)
The Napier RPM solution enables the delivery of tele-health offerings that fulfil the healthcare needs of those who require regular monitoring and instruction but do not require physical face-to-face consultations with medical professionals as frequently.
The solution includes:
- Tele-monitoring of vital signs and other health indicators (such as blood pressure, pulse rate, blood glucose level and weight)
Napier provides end-to-end solutions that enable fast and secure information exchange across the Continuum of Care. As a core product under Napier’s Long Term Care portfolio, RPM works seamlessly with Napier’s nursing home, referral management, practice management and hospital information systems to ensure that providers can cover the full extent of their patients’ healthcare needs.
With the support of the IMDA and IE Singapore, Napier RPM was most recently implemented for a nursing home in Australia, and is currently being piloted by a group of medical spas in the Czech Republic. Due to its success so far, Napier RPM has attracted the interest of other healthcare providers in Singapore, the rest of Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe.
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About Napier Healthcare Solutions
Headquartered in Singapore, Napier Healthcare Solutions is a specialist global technology vendor for healthcare providers. Napier’s Long Term Care platform offerings include an interoperable Cloud-based platform that empowers providers in areas such as Nursing Homes, Home Care, Remote Patient Monitoring, Telemedicine and Tele-health. With Napier’s technology and expertise, healthcare providers can now launch new service lines in the shortest possible time on the Cloud and with Comprehensive Mobility access. For more information, make your way to www.napierhealthcare.com.
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