Medtech aims for home care market

Medtech Global is working with the CSIRO and Victoria's Peninsula Health to develop an effective, cost-efficient way of helping keep chronic heart disease patients at home and out of hospital.

As part of the Victorian government's Health Market Validation Program (MVP), Medtech Global is currently conducting a feasibility study to see if a combination of its technologies as well as CSIRO's research capabilities can better support chronic health disease patients in their home.

Medtech Global is leading a consortium with Victorian company Chakra Solutions and the CSIRO. Medtech's chief technology officer, Rama Kumble, said the concept would bring together Medtech's existing telehealth, online health record and analytical software, along with low-cost hardware and specific analytical skills, to monitor patients in their home but also to help provide better information to the specialists caring for them and provide valuable research data to Peninsula Health.

Based on the Heart Cycle model of care for chronic heart failure (CHF) patients, the project aims to reduce the amount of readmissions due to inadequate self-care, but also to bring the patient's GP and specialists together by sharing more targeted information.

“The focus is on self-care – that is the first and best thing,” Mr Kumble said. “You need to advise them and educate them, with the education given on time at the point of need. Our solution is able to deliver exactly that – it is like having your specialist whisper in your ear.

“Peninsula Health has put up its hand for the project because chronic heart failure patients end up back in the emergency department if they are not cared for properly, when they go back home. That's a readmission and it is expensive. They also have an issue that not all CHF patients may actively participate in the program.”

Medtech Global's plan is to provide a low-cost iPad or tablet that is loaded with its ManageMyHealth clinician and patient portal, which not only allows patients to view their medical records but also to add their own information and access health information. The technology will gather medical data using medical devices with almost no intervention by the patient.

“They have to weigh themselves every day, because daily weight is a very good indicator of a chronic heart failure patient's wellbeing," Mr Kumble said. "If they don't weigh themselves, they get an immediate prompt to do it.

“Medication compliance is another important area – if they haven't taken their medication we will remind them. Then if their weight goes up, the data automatically goes to the chronic heart failure nurse, and then on to the corresponding specialist under whose care they are.”

The plan is to also use Medtech's telehealth software, VitelMed. “[An alert] could also go automatically to the call centre for the hospital, so they can triage and click on the button and see the patient. The idea is that this could be applicable to other chronic disease patients very easily.”

For the clinicians, the plan is to use Medtech's MDAnalyze software, which is used to aggregate and analyse a range of clinical data and record clinical pathways.

“When a patient has any complication, the specialist will be able to collect specific data around that,” Mr Kumble said. “For instance, in a chronic heart disease patient, there might be 20 different parameters that you are interested in. This will allow Peninsula Health's research-oriented clinicians to develop an improved mode of care.

“In most cases people have multiple complications, but one of the problems is that a heart patient might also have diabetes, arthritis or asthma, but a heart specialist isn't interested in this information so they pass that on to other specialists. The system provides for the management of multiple complications. The specialists do not have the ability to collect this different information but our software allows them to design their own forms which they can analyse later.”

CSIRO will design the clinical trial in conjunction with Peninsula Health as well as the algorithms for that data analysis, triggers and conduct longer term research, he said. “This will be quite cost effective. We will use inexpensive, standard hardware as far as possible so the cost is reduced and there is no special equipment required.”

Medtech and its consortium partners are currently doing a feasibility study and hope to advance to the next stage in the MVP, when they will be funded to fully develop the solution.

Medtech is also working on its premier product, practice management software Medtech32, and has appointed a new business development manager, Navina Bilimoria. “Mr Bilimoria comes from a background in practice support through the former Divisions of General Practice and a Medicare Local, and will concentrate on increasing the support for Medtech32 practices,” Mr Kumble said.

Medtech32 version 9.1.0, released in January, contains all of Medtech's PCEHR-compliant capabilities. Mr Kumble said his team would begin working on new PCEHR functionalities, including integrating the link to the National Prescribing and Dispense Repository (NPDR) and integrated PCEHR assisted registration functionality, before NEHTA's deadline of August 1.

The company will release Medtech32 version 9.2, featuring improved usability and user experience, in a couple of weeks. “Our work at the moment is ensuring that workflow is really efficient,” he said. “We have been talking to the doctors about how to improve the program and a few of these suggestions have been included in our upcoming release. Once Medtech version 9.2 is out of the door, we will start work on NPDR and other features.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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