Five major Dutch Insurers fully reimburse 'e-cardiologist' HeartGuard
Today there is good news for thousands of Dutch heart patients. After the largest insurer Zilveren Kruis announced to fully reimburse the e-health service HeartGuard, four other major healthcare insurers (VGZ, DSW, ONVZ, De Friesland) will also follow and reimburse HeartGuard in 2017. Cardiology Centers The Netherlands (CCN), together with FocusCura founding partner of HeartGuard, accounced this news today.
HeartGuard enables to continuous monitoring of cardiovascular patients, suffering from heart failure, hypertension or atrial fibrillation. Patients can measure their vital signs at home with the cVitals App, developed by the Dutch healthcare innovation company FocusCura.
Image 1: FocusCura cVitals App used by patients in HeartGuard
The vital signs, like blood pressure or weight, are sent in remotely through the cVitals App on the iPhone or iPad of the patient to the cardiology centers and are automatically added to the Electronic Medical Record of the patient. Doctors and nurses will be alarmed in case of detection of an increased health risk. Following that alarm, the staff will reach out to the patient and/or general practitioner. Hospital admissions and outpatient clinic visits are reduced by the HeartGuard service.
Fast scale up possible because of reimbursement
''Contractings with any of these four insurances companies make it possible to offer the service to thousands of patients'', according to Cecile Goldman, VP of Operations at CCN. ''Now we can offer the service to patients insured at these insurers as well. This number can grow even further, when insurers CZ and Menzis will start reimbursing HeartGuard as well. ''We are in dialogue with them to offer HeartGuard as well.''
CCN: 'Dutch insurers are setting an example'
By reimbursing HeartGuard, Dutch insurers are setting an example. They are showing that they are not only retaining traditional care delivery, but are willing to support innovation. ''HeartGuard is at the forefront of further evolution in healthcare and by opening up the service to these new patients, we can increase our insights on the effects of this innovative healthcare service on an even larger scale'', says Cecile Goldman.
Image 2: CCN cardiologist checks vital signs of a patient on his iPad Pro
Insurer ONVZ: 'enthusiastic about possibilities of eHealth'
Chairman of the Board of insurer ONVZ Jean-Paul van Haarlem is enthusiastic about the possibilities of HeartGuard for its clients: ''This is an innovation that provides patients with personalized care. HeartGuard will have a positive impact on quality of care and on efficient use of resources. Because it monitors the patient's health remotely, HeartGuard will lead to a reduced number of hospital visits. This is a major improvement for the patient. Reimbursing HeartGuard is an important step for heart patients insured at ONVZ.
Insurer Zilveren Kruis: 'good that others are following'
''We are very happy with the fact that we have realized this breakthrough last summer with FocusCura and CCN to bring chronic cardiovascular care close to our clients. The fact that others follow this example towards innovative care making it available to more patients is great,'' says Erik-Jan Wilhelm, VP of Strategy and Innovation of Zilveren Kruis.
Dutch Patients Federation: 'positive development'
The Dutch Patient Federation is happy that more and more insurers reimburse eHealth. ''We are glad that other insurers are following the example of Zilveren Kruis'', says Director Dianda Veldman. ''I hope more of these eHealth initiatives will be developed so all patients can enjoy this modern form of healthcare.''
Collaboration with hospitals and GP's
At this moment, only patients of Cardiology Centers the Netherlands are eligible to use HeartGuard, but, according to Cecile Goldman, this will change soon: ''we are already having conversations with GP's and hospitals to offer HeartGuard from their own locations to their own patients. We will monitor the patients in that case in commission of their own doctor. Scale is an important factor to eHealth, sharing our resources and expertise reduces the nood for every hospital to reinvent the wheel.''
This press release was published by our partner Cardiology Centers The Netherlands on 6 march 2017.