Oct 30, 2012– Stuttgart, Germany (Techreleased) – Bosch Healthcare, Süddeutsche Krankenversicherung (SDK) and the Robert Bosch Hospital (RBK – Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus) in Stuttgart are launching the telehealth care program for SDK policyholders. The program will permit Germany-wide provision of support for around 100 critically ill patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Patients participating in the program use the Bosch Telehealth system to answer questions about their respiratory condition, measure vital signs such as oxygen saturation and receive information about their general state of health on a daily basis. This information is sent daily to the telehealth center at the RBK, where it is evaluated by qualified medical professionals in order to identify potential changes in the patient’s health early on and, where necessary, contact the patient or attending physician. With the Telehealth system patients also receive information about coping with their medical condition, avoiding relapses and enhancing their quality of life.
Cooperation builds on working closely with general practitioners
Dr. Ralf von Baer, managing director of Robert Bosch Healthcare GmbH on the existing telehealth infrastructure: “Within the scope of the “Alltag mit Telemedizin erfolgreich meistern” (A.T.e.m.) project (“Coping with everyday life with telehealth support”) launched for COPD patients in April of this year we are already supporting a large number of Techniker Krankenkasse policyholders. Now patients insured by SDK can also benefit from the program.”
“SDK offers high-risk patients individual care and exceptional quality of treatment. With a healthcare day in September, SDK already put the topic of COPD on its agenda. With this program we hope to contribute significantly to enhancing patients’ quality of life,” explains Klaus Henkel, Chairman of SDK’s Board of Management. SDK is currently contacting COPD patients with an invitation to participate in the program.
“Continuous monitoring of their medical condition together with intensive patient care and education can prevent an acute worsening of patients’ condition, also called an exacerbation of COPD. This can spare them one or more stays in hospital, which would otherwise be inevitable,” stresses Professor Mark Dominik Alscher, Medical Director of the RBK. “The program helps patients to feel more confident in their familiar home surroundings, which in turn improves their quality of life.”
“The collaboration between the health insurance fund, the hospital and the company is built on a strong cooperation with the patients’ medical providers,” Ullrich Hipp, managing director of Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus GmbH stressed. “That’s why it’s important to win the support of attending general practitioners,” Medical Director Alscher adds. Without the support of local doctors, who know the patients personally and monitor their progress, a decisive component of the telehealth program would be lacking.
COPD third most frequent cause of death in Europe by 2030
Surveys conducted by the Federal Statistical Office indicate that 80 patients die from COPD every day in Germany alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates that by 2030 COPD will be the third most frequent cause of death in Europe after heart failure and stroke (World Health Statistics). According to estimates, more than six million people in Germany are currently suffering from COPD (based on the BOLD study, Geldmacher 2008). However, only around 1.5 million of these have been diagnosed (Chapman 2006).
System successfully implemented in the USA for over a decade
This program builds on the Bosch Healthcare Telehealth system that has been implemented internationally for over a decade. As well as COPD the Bosch Healthcare system is also used to successfully monitor other chronic diseases such as heart failure and diabetes. “Here we go a long way towards living up to Bosch’s vision of “Invented for life”,” explains Dr. Jasper zu Putlitz, president of Robert Bosch Healthcare. Referring to the further rollout in Germany zu Putlitz says: “We are expecting other health insurance companies and insurers – also for other chronic diseases – to participate in our telehealth infrastructure in the near future.”