The prolongation of life with a good quality is one of the successes of modern medicine. This has resulted in a demographic transformation in all developed western countries, with populations becoming increasingly aged and most of the elderly suffering from chronic diseases. However, not only structural measures in the healthcare systems but also technological innovations are required. One of the key technologies will be telemedicine, which is to facilitate the care of at-risk patients at home, in addition to outpatient and inpatient care. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology launched an invitation to tender for a telemonitoring platform system (www.nextgenerationmedia.de). The conditions for participation included the possibility of integrating devices produced by different manufacturers, applicability to different diseases and vertical scalability of the flow of information between patients and their physicians working in the telemonitoring system (afferent pathway), and the therapeutic consequences of this exchange back to the patient (efferent pathway). The 'Partnership for the Heart', a consortium consisting of the Charité University Clinic in Berlin and three industrial partners, was among the successful bidders. The 'Heart Coach System' developed by this consortium is currently being employed in a randomized, prospective, multicentre study in 450 patients with chronic class New York Heart Association functional class II-III heart failure over a minimum period of 12 months. The aim is to demonstrate the superiority of a telemedical homecare monitoring system with the primary endpoints mortality, duration of inpatient treatment and costs, and the secondary endpoint quality of life. The total cost of the project is €8 million (grant €4.9 million). The project is being carried out from 2005 to 2008.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy