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Patients with Chronic Conditions Want Telemedicine Study Shows

by Kim Kristiansen M.D. on May 19th, 2011

Telemedicine is communicating and transferring medical information and monitoring through interactive audio-visual media for consulting, medical procedure or examinations. It is a rapidly emerging field due to the rapid progress in the field of technological solutions making this possible as a win-win situation with benefits for both patients and healthcare- and social systems.

Luckily more and more patients survive conditions that former led to death but often has consequences for the Health Related Quality of Life as living with pain, loss of function, loss of work, family issues etc. On top of this come very frequent visits to doctors, physiotherapist, hospitals, social security systems and more.
A report published last week by the Danish company KMD contains a survey among 1100 Danish patients with chronic diseases like COPD, arthritis and diabetes. Among this large population of patients,

  • 70% believes that use of telemedicine as video consultations and monitoring of the conditions at distance would ease their lifes
  • 60% of the participants would like to use the possibilities these information technologies provides as a way to stay in ongoing contact with their doctors and other healthcare professionals and to get feedback without having an appointment at the hospital or clinic every time.
  • More than 55% of the respondents experience less continuity in the treatment and in the process of managing their condition due to lack of shared care between the different healthcare professionals, and half of the respondents have experienced data missing when they are at the hospital or clinic visit.
  • 35% of the 1100 participants thought that use of telemedicine in the managing of their condition would reduce their visits by 50% at their doctor and other healthcare providers. With the enormous and still growing need for care at all levels of healthcare, this is very interesting and very important.

It actually seems that we can provide better care to more patients and at the same time reduce the burden – both measured in time and costs – in the healthcare system.
But what about the patients with greatest need for care? In the KMD study those who had most frequent contacts with the healthcare system were those who were most positive to the new technology. This group expects that IT solutions could ease the everyday life and give fewer visits to healthcare.
The report presents a case with a 40 years old woman who is married, has two children and working full time – and having rheumatoid arthritis. Having a full time job and a family to take care of the four or more visits per year to the hospital on top of the blood tests and contact with her primary care physician is time consuming, and the time is taken from the family. She explains that normally a visit at the hospital take 10-15 minutes together with the doctor, but it takes normally 3 hours or more due to transport and waiting time. She finds that most consultations could take place as IT-communication, and that the rating scale she completes at every visit, used for the communication at the visit, could have been completed online at a time suitable for her. The doctor could follow up based on the scoring and the comments decide weather she would have to come to the clinic.
In some cases investment in new technology is needed to start telemedical communication. The online version of DoloTest® called e-DoloTest® is based on basic computers connected to the Internet, and thereby provides an additional use for investments already made, and e-DoloTest is obvious to use in telemedicine.
In fact using e-DoloTest would cover most of the wishes from the 1100 persons in the KMD-study. When using e-DoloTest both the patient and the healthcare provider(s) can get access to the system from any computer connected to the Internet. In e-DoloTest the patient has access to a DoloTest making scoring by using mouse clicks. The DoloTest rotates automatically and when completed automatically draws the DoloTest-Profile. When the patient has completed a DoloTest, a notification is sent to the healthcare provider, who has access to compare with previously DoloTest-Profiles and -Scores as well as getting a report with both numerically and visually presentation of the test results. The visual presentation is shown in the picture. The DoloTest-Report can be saved as pdf and attached the patient’s file. An in-debt analysis of the scoring on each domain and comparison with other domains are also available. By a single click all the patients’ data are transferred to an Excel spreadsheet to be used in research or other analysis.
Scorings made on DoloTest in the paper version are easily entered to e-DoloTest system and can be used in all e-DoloTest features.
Patients scoring can be shared by the whole clinic.
You can read more about DoloTest and how to get access to e-DoloTest on the DoloTest Website.


This blog post is also available as a Picture of Pain Podcast in iTunes

Kim Kristiansen, M.D. (2011). Patients with Chronic Conditions Want Telemedicine Study Shows Picture of Pain Blog :

  1. I coordinate a self help group for people with arthritis in UK. I believe in the benefits of training healthcare professionals in telemedicine for people with long-term conditions.
    People with arthritis in UK, relatively speaking, receive little planned treatment strategies within our rapidly changing & diminishing NHS service provision.
    I was very interested to see a case study of someone in your Report with RA. We have a younger member in a very similar position with 2 young children & she has RA.
    I have put a link on our website.

  2. Hi Christine. Thank you for taking the time to comment on the blog and for the link to your website. It looks very interesting and that you are providing help to people who really need it. Telemedicine is indeed a way to help many patients without the need for them to come to the clinic every time and a way to stay in touch and provide support and help to those who need it – WHEN they need it.
    Thanks again

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Patients with Chronic Conditions Want Telemedicine Study Shows | CLASH – Leicester Arthritis Support Group
  2. Telemedicine Working Wonders for Arthritis Patients | Today's Telemedicine

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