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Telemedical care of patients with chronic heart failure launched in Germany
In late January 2020, the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and health insurance provider Barmer have signed an integrated care contract for the telemedical management of patients with chronic heart failure. Also, the benefit assessment process at the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) has already started, and a result is expected in spring 2021.
The care concept builds on the positive results of the Fontane study, which, for the first time, demonstrated that telemedicine could extend the life of heart failure patients and reduce the number of hospital stays. Around 2.5 million Germans suffer from chronic heart failure, with 450,000 inpatient treatments a year.
The Fontane study, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with more than ten million euros, not only showed a reduction in mortality and inpatient treatment but also demonstrated that telemedical care could also balance different starting situations between metropolitan regions and rural areas.
The care concept provides that the patients receive four measuring devices: an EKG device, a blood pressure monitor, scales, and a tablet for the state of health self-assessment. The technology is easy to use and practical for everyday use. Also, the patients will be trained in handling the devices and coping with their illness by specially trained nursing staff from the Charité.
The vital signs will be automatically transmitted to the Charité’s telemedicine center via mobile phone. Doctors and nurses will continuously evaluate the transmitted measured values in real-time and react if the values deteriorate. For example, the administration of the drugs can be adjusted, recommendations for an outpatient visit to the doctor or hospitalization can be given. The Barmer pays both the participating resident doctors and the Charité around 1,400€ per patient per year.
As a result, with a relative reduction in mortality by 20% and the hospitalization rate due to heart failure by 30%, theoretically, every third of the 460,000 hospitalizations per year could be prevented. Approximately 20 to 25 telemedical centers are necessary to ensure nationwide coverage for insured persons of all health insurance companies. Candidates are the already existing centers of excellence for heart failure.
The full details in German can be found here.
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