Patients Insured with Zilveren Kruis Can Monitor Heart Functioning via an App
Starting this month, heart patients who are insured with Zilveren Kruis will be able to use "cVitals," a "telecardiologist" available on their smartphone or tablet 24 hours a day. The insurance agency Zilveren Kruis, the cardiology care network Cardiologie Centra Nederland (CCN) and FocusCura announced this in a joint statement during the European eHealth Week in Amsterdam. This breakthrough is the first of its kind in Europe.
Prevent Unnecessary Hospital Admissions
Patients with cardiac failure and cardiovascular problems constantly have to worry about their heart function. This often results in emergency visits to the doctor, or, in the worst case, trips to the emergency room.
This is a great frustration for Dr. Igor Tulevski, a cardiologist and the cofounder of the Dutch cardiology care network Cardiologie Centra Nederland (CCN). "If patients can be well monitored from a distance, many of these types of hospital admissions can be prevented. We have carried out tests in the past on equipment that monitors patients at home. Those tests were successful, but they were always on a small scale because we lacked funding. This is about to change."
cVitals Heart Failure
In collaboration with the health care innovation company FocusCura, Dr. Tulevski developed cVitals Heart Failure. "Heart patients at CCN are already able to see their own files," Dr. Tulevski explains. "Now they will get a special app which they can use at home to send their vital signs - like blood pressure and weight - from the connected measuring equipment. If something is not quite right, or if the patient is unsure about anything, CCN is sent an alert and the option of a video chat is enabled. And if the situation calls for it, the patient can be immediately admitted to one of the local CCN clinics."
Apps for Measurements at Home and Risk Analysis
HeartMonitoring works by using the products cVitals and cContact. Patients can send measurements such as their blood pressure, weight, and heart rate to their cardiologist from the comfort of their home. If any of the measurements deviates from the norm, the health care provider is sent an alert. If the patient's condition deteriorates, the health care provider can be immediately contacted for a video call using cContact. And if the situation calls for it, the patient can be immediately admitted to a local CCN clinic. All this helps make hospital visits unnecessary.
Covered by Zilveren Kruis
Patients insured with the Dutch insurance company Zilveren Kruis who are prescribed distance care are covered for the costs, including the required apps and home measurement equipment. Zilveren Kruis and CCN hope to prevent hospital admissions and aggravation of symptoms in an early phase. To this end, the cardiologists at CCN cooperate closely with family doctors and hospitals.
Zilveren Kruis had already been looking for ways to bring eHealth to its insured parties on a large scale, explains Olivier Gerrits, the director of health purchasing. "We welcome innovation. Our goal regarding innovation is to facilitate the best possible patient health care. With HeartMonitoring we can detect symptoms at an early stage and prevent them becoming worse. And no less important is the fact that patients are reassured that someone is aware of their situation and keeping an eye on things. Patients are given more freedom and more control over their own lives. Zilveren Kruis hopes to make that possible for even more insured parties."
Edith Schippers, the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, says in regards to the collaboration: "This is good news for patients. It has the potential to make life significantly easier and more comfortable for a great many people. Instead of sitting in a doctor's waiting room, they can simply sit in their living rooms. It will prevent unnecessary hospital visits and people can easily access their own data. This is an important step that brings us closer to our goals. It allows us all to improve our health care together."
In 2014 Minister Schippers sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament listing three goals to achieve within five years: giving 80% of chronically ill people online access to their own files, allowing 75% of them to take measurements at home, and enabling 100% to communicate with their health care provider via a video screen.
With this joint initiative, Zilveren Kruis, CCN, and FocusCura are achieving all three of these goals at once for a large group of patients. This is an extremely important breakthrough in the field of eHealth.