Tele-monitoring has the potential to improve efficiency of care in hospitals and the community, and provide secondary preventative measures for the management of chronic conditions and maintenance of healthy lifestyles. It needs both large-scale surveys and remote monitoring techniques to be successful.
Research and Technology
Research to date around the world has produced equivocal results, often because it has focused too much on the technology with little thought for practical utility, or because it has been too all-encompassing to provide useful information about what works for whom. Trials of telehealth technologies need to be carried out on a much faster timescale than is usually possible in separate or follow-on research proposals.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Role
The National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) has already conducted a large-scale telemonitoring trial (ASSET) including remote monitoring of patients with heart and lung disease, and has demonstrated the feasibility of integrating telehealth into primary and secondary care.
It also showed that overlaying new technologies such as this on existing models of care is inefficient, and that new care models are needed. Using the technology available through CMDT, particularly sensing and remote monitoring, NIHI is now working with Waitemata DHB to address gaps in the support of self-management for people with diabetes, and a Centre for Health Technology and Creative Design is being established to test new technologies and models of care using a ‘fail-fast’ approach to speed up data gathering, and using input from both frontline medical staff and industry to evaluate, refine and improve models and monitoring systems.
Planned studies involve home and community remote monitoring of patients with chronic obstructive respiratory disease, and those with multiple co-morbidities, such as diabetics with cardiovascular disease and renal failure.