In recent decades, there has been a gradual increase in the prevalence of certain chronic diseases, along with the progressive ageing of the population. Advances in treatment of the different pathologies have led to an improvement in both the survival and quality of life of these patients. However, improving care for palliative patients, as well as the implementation of specific resources, continues to be one of the challenges facing our healthcare system.
Every year, around 40 million people worldwide require palliative care, although only 15% of these patients receive it. In Spain, according to the National Institute of Statistics, some 200,000 people suffer from a terminal illness every year, and almost 80,000 patients die without having received the necessary specialised palliative care. This data, together with the high risk of associated hospitalisation, indicate the need for personalised care, in which specific protocols are established for each patient and continuity of care is increased.
Telemonitoring of palliative patients
Telemonitoring allows remote monitoring of the condition and symptoms of palliative patients, with the aim of early identification and treatment of any worsening of the underlying disease and its associated complications. A home monitoring programme, accompanied by an appropriate information plan, has benefits for both patients and the healthcare system, as it can help to reduce hospital admissions, length of stay and the number of visits to the emergency room.
In this sense, remote patient monitoring can serve as a useful tool to ensure that healthcare is delivered more quickly and continuously, while maintaining safety and quality of care.
Monitoring of advanced palliative patients with Tucuvi
Tucuvi is carrying out a telemonitoring programme for advanced palliative patients in the Home Hospitalisation Unit of the Vinalopó Hospital, part of the Ribera Salud group, in order to follow up on the early detection of relapses. The monitoring protocol is based on a weekly clinical assessment call, in which the patient is questioned about their signs and symptoms.
The main objective is to establish whether the patient remains clinically stable or has worsened and requires intervention by the healthcare team. Secondary objectives include improving health outcomes and patient experience, increasing adherence to treatment, promoting self-care and accompanying patients between visits.
Between June and October, 142 patients with an average age of 78.6 years have been monitored with Tucuvi and have spoken to Lola, our virtual caregiver, every week. More than 90% of the patients have generated at least one alert, totalling more than 1,500 in that period of time. These incidents have been reported to healthcare professionals in real time through our remote patient monitoring platform, resulting in an improvement in the planning of care activity.
Improved healthcare planning has a direct effect on the quality of care, as it increases the coordination and speed of interventions and allows for significant optimisation in terms of time and resources.
Specifically, patients included in the programme have reduced their visits to the Emergency Room and Health Centres by 20% and 25%, respectively. In addition, thanks to the monitoring with Lola, the nursing staff needed to make 70% fewer calls to patients who did not really need them, being able to prioritise their time to provide better healthcare coverage to the most urgent patients.
In terms of patient satisfaction, 100% of the patients surveyed expressed perceived usefulness and a desire to continue with the programme’s follow up. 96% of the patients appreciated the fact that Lola calls them once a week, 64% agreed that they would have needed the visit with their doctor without the calls, 27% stated that their visits to the emergency room had decreased and 9% felt that they had been admitted to hospital less frequently.
Congratulations to all the team of the Palliative Patient Programme for doing an exceptional job in the care of their patients and for betting on clinical artificial intelligence to improve the quality of care.
From Tucuvi we keep working in response to the needs of the health system, helping professionals to plan care in a more efficient and personalised way and improving health care at home.