Bosch Telehealth Trial

The Netwell project demonstrated how a telehealth system may help patients better understand their chronic illness and motivate them to change their behaviour to improve self-management of their condition.

10 Mar, 2010 – Netwell Centre in Ireland to conduct telehealth trial using Bosch Telehealth Plus System

Robert Bosch Healthcare — a leader in telehealth —Bosch has announced that its remote patient monitoring system will be used in a new telehealth trial for chronic disease management in Ireland. The trial is being conducted by the Netwell Centre at the Dundalk Institute of Technology in County Louth, Ireland, which serves as centre of excellence for the applied research, development and exploitation of technologies that enhance quality of life and well-being of older people and support their ability to live independently. The project marks the first involvement of Robert Bosch Healthcare’s telehealth system in Ireland.

The Netwell project will demonstrate how a telehealth system may help patients better understand their chronic illness and motivate them to change their behaviour to improve self-management of their condition. Forty older patients who have either congestive heart failure (CHF) or diabetes are participating in the trial, and a quarter of them will serve as a control group. The main group will use the Bosch patient interface in their home for a period of 90 days. The project has been enabled by the close cooperation of specialist clinical teams in the Health Services Executive within Louth County.

The patient interface is a compact device with a display and simple four-buttons that allows patients to answer a series of questions about their health and symptoms each day. Through these “dialogues” they learn about ways to better manage their conditions, and they receive health tips and reminders to take their medication. In the Netwell Centre trial, the participants will also report their blood pressure and weight or blood glucose levels, depending on their condition, through the session.

The data from the sessions is sent over a telephone line to a secure data centre where it is accessed by care coordinators who are alerted to early warning signs if a patient’s health is deteriorating. The coordinators alert specialist clinical staff within the Health Services if a patient appears to need urgent attention.

In the Netwell project, McElwaine SMART, a project partner of Robert Bosch Healthcare that offers 24/7 monitoring services to a range of people who are trying to manage risks whilst living independently, will provide triage staff to monitor the data received from the patients. By quickly risk-stratifying patients based on the daily interactive sessions, the Bosch Telehealth System enables healthcare providers to intervene before medical issues escalate. The goal is to improve quality of life, enable older people to remain independent longer, and lower costs of care by reducing visits to the emergency department and hospital.

“We believe that this telehealth project will be a catalyst for transformation with clinicians, health services and private service providers working together to the benefit of older people,” said Rodd Bond, Director Netwell Centre. “It forms a key element in our mission of transforming communities, environments and technologies for ageing-in-place.”

During the trial researchers from the Netwell Centre will evaluate how patients respond to the telehealth technology and determine its ability to impact their well-being and quality of life. They will also solicit feedback from clinicians to learn how telehealth systems may contribute to improving their healthcare service and relationships with patients. This pilot project will allow healthcare services to assess the feasibility of expanding telehealth services to a broader community.

“Through our partnership with McElwaine SMART, Bosch is establishing a comprehensive telehealth solution in which the technology and clinical service are integrated,” said Derek Newell, President of Robert Bosch Healthcare. “We believe this critical project sponsored by the Netwell Centre will help shape a telehealth service model that can be replicated and expanded in other areas.”

In the U.S. the Bosch Telehealth System has aided health management of thousands of patients with a wide variety of chronic conditions, and it has yielded measurable results. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which has used the system extensively in its telehealth programme, showed a 20 percent reduction in hospitalisations and 25 percent reduction in bed days of care for participating patients. 1 The Bosch Telehealth System has also been a prime component of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Care Management for High-Cost Beneficiaries Demonstration that began in 2006. The success of this programme in improving the care of and reducing costs for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries has led to the programme being extended for another three years.

Further Information

You Tube – RTÉ News, Casala Feature: Health Checker