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Telemedical support for patients suffering from asthma pilot project was considered successful in Germany
A positive conclusion regarding the model project “Rhineland-Palatinate breathes through - telemedicine for healthy lungs” (“Rheinland-Pfalz atmet durch – Telemedizin für eine gesunde Lunge”) was drawn by the Mainz Ministry of Health.
The telemedicine support project “Rhineland-Palatinate Breathes Through - Telemedicine for Healthy Lungs” was launched as part of the “Health and Care - 2020” (“Gesundheit und Pflege - 2020”) program of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Social Affairs, Employment, Health, and Demography. The project ran from June 2017 to December 31, 2018, in the Koblenz area. A group of 120 patients suffering from asthma from Rhineland-Palatinate participated in the project for a period of three months each. Participants were then Techniker Krankenkasse (TK, Germany’s largest statutory health insurance fund), the Koblenz study center (KPPK), and the software company Qurasoft. The state-funded the project with more than €280,000.
As part of the project, the participants conducted a digital health diary for lung patients via a smartphone app “SaniQ Asthma.” This included recording of the values describing lung function using Bluetooth-enabled gauges. In the app, the participants could also document their symptoms and medication income. In addition, the app reminded the users on request about the gauging and the intake of the medicine. The digital health diary records were transferred to the practice of the treating specialist almost in real-time. The doctor and his team viewed the data in their own software and analyzed it. In the case of abnormalities, they contacted the patients and took appropriate steps.
The aim was to have the participating patients record at least 50% of the measurements digitally. In fact, the users have documented an average of more than 80% of the measurements in the app. Asthma-related symptoms and disease-related quality of life also improved: about half (48.78%) of the participants who initially had a cough were exempted at the end of the project. Around 40% no longer had respiratory distress after exercise, and 71.43% of participants no longer had their initial sleep apnea. 57.45% of participants with initial chest pain were pain-free at the end of the project.
The Mainz Ministry of Health concluded that present study results show the success of the project. Patients benefited from an improvement in their disease-related quality of life; the symptoms have been significantly reduced, lung function and disease status were improved.
The full details in German can be found here.
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