Project "Partnership for the Heart" presents results
At a press conference in the Federal Ministry of Economics and technology (BMWi), the consortium partners of the project "Partnership for the Heart" will, for the first time, present the results of an up to now worldwide unique clinical study on the effectiveness of telemedicine in chronic heart failure. The investigation, controlled by Charité - University Medicine Berlin was carried out over the past two years. It presents both the medical and the economic benefits of telemedicine on a recognized objective basis. In addition to Federal Minister of Economics Rainer Brüderle, the representatives of the enterprises involved in the project Prof. Karl Max Einhäupl, chairman of the board of the Charité, Dr. Siegfried Dais, manager of the Robert Bosch GmbH, Dr. Ralf Brandner, Head of Development of InterComponetWare AG (ICW) and Dr. Thomas Schweizer, managing director of Aipermon GmbH discuss the economic and health consequences of the study.
A total of 710 chronically weak heart patients from Berlin / Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg took part in the study. These patients’ hearts, in part, achieved less than half of the normal pumping capacity. In addition, it can cause dangerous water retention in the body, requiring frequent hospital admissions. It was found that with telemedicine in addition to primary medical care, both the quality of life as well as the life expectancy of risk patients clearly improves.
"The study established that this therapy management with the help of telemedicine is of particular use with unstable patients. Now it falls to the committees of self-government and politics to provide the crucial points, so that this innovative solution can quickly be of benefit for the affected patients in Germany“, explains Prof. Einhäupl
For a period of two years the weight values, blood pressure values and ECG values of half of the patients were sent daily by means of mobile radio to the tele-medical centre of the Charité or to the Stuttgart Robert Bosch hospital and were evaluated there. In cases with striking changes, the medical specialist staff can contact the affected persons or her doctors in a timely manner. For this group, within two years, the cardiovascular mortality rate was reduced significantly. Also, the number of hospitalizations for heart failure dropped off noticeably. The other half of the patients served as a control group and was treated conventionally over the same period of time, but received no telemedicine support.
"This study clearly shows the impressive potential of telemedicine." said Dr. Siegfried Dais, deputy chairman of the Bosch Group, which accompanied the study as technical lead manager. Also involved in "Partnership for the Heart", were the equipment manufacturer Aipermon GmbH & Co. KG and the eHealth software provider InterComponentWare AG (ICW). Together with health providers and political policy makers the consortium will now strive to make telemedical care available to as many patients as possible in Germany. In other countries, telemedicine is already used in the treatment of diabetes, severe lung disease or stroke rehabilitation.
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