the role of telemonitoring in therapeutic education

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People generally think of telemonitoring as a form of long-term patient follow-up. But there’s more to it than that! In fact, telemonitoring can play a compelling role in the short term when used in therapeutic education.

therapeutic education: an essential part of healthcare

Take the case of a patient who has just discovered he has type 1 diabetes.

From one day to the next, his life will change from A to Z, and he’ll have to integrate his condition and its treatment into his daily routine. Making this transition can be pretty tough at first, since there are multiple constraints: he’ll have to check his glucose levels several times a day, adapt his insulin doses accordingly, plan ahead to fit treatment into each day’s schedule, and more. But it’s precisely within these constraints that telemonitoring can play an interesting role.

Telemonitoring can help create a personalized procedure to:

  • monitor glucose levels and track how the patient follows treatment over the first few weeks
  • help the patient better understand his condition and learn how to adapt his lifestyle

Allow me to explain: a typical telemonitoring solution will have the patient perform the following daily tasks:

  • record and send his health data (glucose level, insulin doses, weight, etc)
  • answer a medical self-assessment questionnaire

These questionnaires, prepared directly by medical teams, will ask, for example, if the patient experienced hypoglycemia at any point throughout the day. Based on this answer, the program will initiate a dialogue with the patient to see if any particular activity was associated with the episode (such as strenuous exercise). If so, it will then provide information explaining how he can better prepare next time.

This may only be an example, but it illustrates that telemonitoring can enable patients to better understand how a course of treatment discussed with their doctor should be followed in real-life situations.

personalized care

Telemonitoring thus serves as a kind of “personal coach” to provide assistance to patients on a daily basis while sending medical data to doctors. Doctors can then clarify or adapt any part of a treatment during a patient’s next appointment, based on occurrences observed with this data. Telemonitoring doesn’t play a long-term role in this case. Instead, it’s used for a few months as patients adapt to their condition and learn how to follow their treatment.

I used the example of diabetes, but telemonitoring can also be used to track other conditions.  For example, Geisinger Health System hospitals in Pennsylvania, USA use a telemonitoring system for heart failure patients.

Caroline

This post was originally published in French here

image © athomass - Fotolia.com

Caroline Crousillat

Spécialiste de la communication digitale, je donne vie à Orange Healthcare sur les réseaux sociaux jours après jours. Geekette dans l'âme, je reste à l'affut de toutes les nouvelles applications des technologies dans la santé mais aussi dans d'autres domaines.