10 May Patient Engagement Platforms in chronic patient monitoring
Article by Natalia de la Figuera – Cofounder and COO of GENESIS Biomed
• These platforms are a tool that allow the patient to interact with healthcare professionals through their mobile device, tablet or computer.
• This need arose especially for the monitoring of chronically ill patients.
• Depending on the enabled functionalities, the platform shall be certified or not as Medical Device Software.
Change is a constant in life. This is something that has been noted since the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, for whom “There is nothing permanent except change”, or the natural scientist Charles Darwin, author of the Theory of Evolution, for whom “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that respond better to change”. For this reason, the outbreak of Covid-19 brought about a change in our lives that forced an accelerated adaptation to avoid a health hecatomb and economic collapse. Seclusion, firstly, and the reduction in social contacts to avoid disease transmission, secondly, drove the adoption of digital health technologies, including patient engagement platforms. The adoption of these digital solutions prevented the total deprotection of the population, not only from Covid-19 but also from all other diseases.
This need arose especially for the monitoring of chronic patients, patients who place a considerable burden on health systems and who most regularly attend primary care centres and hospitals. This is mainly due to the fact that the prevalence of chronic diseases accounts for almost one third of adults, especially in the area of cardiovascular diseases (ischaemic heart attack and stroke), cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.
Hence, in the wake of the pandemic, numerous patient engagement platforms have been and continue to be developed that present a holistic approach to monitoring and management of the chronically ill and provide a tool that enables patient interaction with healthcare professionals via their mobile device, tablet or computer. It bridges the gap and keeps patients engaged in their care even when they are not physically in the hospital or healthcare facility.
The following are some of the options that these platforms can present for chronic patient monitoring and management.
- Appointment scheduling: Allows you to schedule appointments with the healthcare professional, including remainder alerts.
- Communication with healthcare professional: in the event of an abnormal situation in disease management, a health professional can be consulted for guidance in decision making.
- Medication control: certain diseases require strict medication control, where missing a dose can have important consequences. For this reason, adherence to treatment, or patient compliance with the prescribed medication, is of vital importance. Tools such as these can help improve adherence to treatment and minimise risk.
- Clinical data collection: The monitoring of certain clinical conditions affecting the chronically ill patients can be carried out thanks to self-use medical devices (e.g., glucometers) or wearables that can record blood pressure, heart rate, etc. The collection of this data can be used for the generation of reports that can be sent to a healthcare professional or for processing or alarm notification based on certain clinical parameters. When this data is processed through an algorithm to assist the healthcare professional in making decisions for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, the Platform becomes a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS). These systems contribute to the constitution of a value-based healthcare system, with a proven cost-effectiveness through a medicine based on prevention, diagnosis, and more precise and personalised therapies.
- Healthy habits: healthy habits (physical exercise, Mediterranean diet, etc.) prevent complications in chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular diseases). It is important to instil this culture in patients as a tool for disease control.
- Education: Access to information about a chronic patient’s illness/diseases, in a concise, tailored manner conveys reassurance to the patient and avoids unnecessary alarms.
Existing platforms may have some, all or other functionalities described above. Depending on the functionalities enabled, the platform shall be certified or not as Medical Device Software (MDSW). Depending on the purpose of the platform the following situations could occur:
Also, depending on the functionalities, the business model of this platform will vary, but this, due to the length of the explanation, will be the subject of another press release to be presented later.
In any case, the continuous development of AI and technology seems to be a driving force for all these platforms, which will continue to expand, incorporating new pathologies and expanding the number of patients who will make use of them for better control and disease monitoring.