As part of a technology partnership between the two organizations, Siemens Healthineers and the Herz- und Diabeteszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen (Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia, HDZ NRW) in Bad Oeynhausen have developed their first innovative care service for patients with cardiovascular diseases. The program, known as “HerzConnect,” is aimed at health insurance companies that want to offer improved treatment for policyholders with chronic heart failure. The objective is to ensure patients are treated in accordance with the guidelines, and to provide in-depth remote care to significantly slow the progress of the disease, enable patients to manage their own disease through a process of education, and make a perceptible improvement to their quality of life. One crucial element involves preventing decompensated heart failure, i.e. an aggravation in which an accumulation of water in the lungs and other body parts leads to repeated hospitalization.
Siemens Healthineers will be responsible for the entire technical component of this telemedicine solution, including logistical aspects. This includes elements such as the mobile measuring devices, like a mobile ECG, blood pressure meter, and scales to measure body weight. HDZ NRW is responsible for providing patients with medical care and advice. The mobile app and the care software at HDZ NRW were developed for this project by Siemens Healthineers in partnership with HDZ NRW.
The mobile measuring devices supplied by Siemens Healthineers and certified as medical products record selected vital signs and other patient parameters around the clock and transmit this data via a Smartphone app and a secure data connection to the Institute for Applied Telemedicine (IFAT) at HDZ NRW. There, the data is analyzed both automatically and by specialists using specially developed algorithms, so that treatment can then be systematically optimized to suit each individual patient. This involves providing automated, intuitive feedback to the patient in question, as well as targeted, needs-based contact from the medical specialists at HDZ NRW. The specialists, who have undergone dedicated training in the clinical patterns of heart failure, take down additional information relevant to the patients’ treatment in a series of regular, scheduled phone calls, and guide them toward health-promoting lifestyles that will help them deal with their chronic heart disease. Communicating knowledge on heart failure and setting individual goals for the course of treatment are intended to increase patient responsibility and improve their individual treatment outcomes. Continuous monitoring and the telemedicine care program will enable faster response times if unusual parameters are detected, in addition to providing care in accordance with guidelines, and ensuring improved adherence to treatment, all of which will ultimately result in better quality of life for the patients. Reducing the number of unplanned readmissions will cover the costs of telemedicine care using HerzConnect.
The first health insurance company to adopt this program is DAK Gesundheit in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, which will roll it out for its policyholders starting summer 2019.
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