Telemedicine network launched for cardiac patients
The first nationwide telemedicine network in Germany has started in Cottbus. Up to 500 patients with chronic heart failure are to be monitored and looked after remotely around the clock with the help of modern information and communication technologies (ICT technology), said Brandenburg Health Minister Anita Tack (Die Linke) at the official inauguration of the new telemedicine Network.
The project, which is funded by the federal and state governments with 1.53 million euros, is intended to enable cardiac patients with high health risks to have their medical data checked around the clock in the future - even from home or on vacation - without having to see a doctor . As the state health minister Anita Tack emphasized, everyone involved is breaking new ground with the telemedicine network. With the help of the new model, "we (above all) want to improve the health care of people in rural areas", Tack continues. The state minister of health was confident that, in addition to the Carl-Thiem-Klinikum currently involved in Cottbus and the Brandenburg / Havel municipal clinic, “further clinics will take part in the project” and that the close cooperation with local GPs and cardiologists will be further expanded.
Medical data will be transmitted by radio. The major project of the telemedicine network will in future help to avoid stressful double examinations and expensive hospital stays and thus noticeably improve the quality of life of the high-risk cardiac patients, according to the state minister of health. To implement the new care model, AOK Nordost has concluded an integrated care contract with the participating clinics, which also regulates the assumption of costs when participating in the project. The telemedicine network implemented on the basis of the latest technology was developed with the support of the Berlin Charité and implemented in its technical infrastructure by Deutsche Telekom and Getemed Medizin- und Informationstechnik AG from Teltow in Potsdam-Mittelmark. To record the relevant medical data for cardiac patients, they receive a case with diagnostic devices for measuring blood pressure, EKG data, weight and oxygen saturation of the blood, the state health minister explained. All of the recorded data and information on the findings and medication intake are continuously transmitted by radio to the electronic patient file in the telemedicine center of the two hospitals, Tack continues.
Telemedicine networks as an option for high-risk heart patients In the clinics, medical teams are on standby 24 hours a day and continuously evaluate the patient data transmitted in the telemedicine network, explained the State Minister for Health. As soon as the data indicate a critical state of health of the patient, those affected and their doctors are informed immediately, and all relevant diagnostic data are transmitted to the responsible general practitioners and cardiologists before the patient visits, Tack emphasized the advantages of the telemedicine network. In this way, not only does the quality of life for the participating patients increase, since they do not have to go to the doctor constantly to check, but also the effectiveness of the treatment is significantly improved, said the Brandenburg State Minister of Health. The number of cardiac patients across Germany shows how many people could be helped with comparable telemedicine networks. Weaknesses with around two to three million people are considered one of the most common diseases in Germany, Tack emphasized. According to the Federal Statistical Office, heart failure (acute heart failure) was the third leading cause of death and the second leading cause of inpatient treatment in hospital in 2010. According to the Brandenburg Minister of Health, the telemedicine networks based on the latest ICT technology can help to significantly reduce the mortality rate in the presence of heart failure. (fp)
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