Tele-health scheme to allow remote monitoring of heart failure patients

Published: 4:04 AM, September 5, 2014

SINGAPORE — A new tele-health programme, touted as the first of its kind in Singapore, will allow healthcare professionals to remotely monitor the recovery of heart failure patients.

Patients enrolled in the programme, which is being piloted by the Eastern Health Alliance and Changi General Hospital (CGH), will be equipped with devices such as a tablet computer and blood pressure monitor.

The devices will enable the patients to measure their weight, pulse and blood pressure daily, with the information being transmitted to a central system for monitoring, said the two organisations at a media briefing yesterday.

The programme will also allow healthcare professionals to monitor and provide assistance to patients after they are discharged and back home. For instance, should they show signs of deterioration, healthcare professionals can pick up on the signs and provide the necessary support.

Recovering patients can also view educational videos on the tablets to better manage their conditions and reduce the risk of hospital readmission and, ultimately, premature death, the organisations said.

Heart failure patients are frequently readmitted to hospital, 40 per cent of them within 12 months, CGH said. A key reason for the high readmission rate is that patients do not adhere to treatment plans, which may include taking medication consistently and monitoring their weight daily.

The two organisations said they had worked with Philips Healthcare to develop the scheme and tailor it for the local population, such as making content available in English, Mandarin and Malay.

The pilot, which was rolled out on June 26, currently has five patients on board. The healthcare service providers aim to have about 160 heart failure patients on the programme by October next year. CHANNEL NEWSASIA