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Preventive eCare delivers real benefits

Medixine’s population-based communication systems help enhance preventive care and cut costs. They can reach large numbers of patients and collect essential data, without adding to the workload of health professionals. Health Forecasting and Health Screening are the two latest additions to Medixine’s range of preventive eCare services.

Studies by the UK Met Office show that hospital admissions of patients suffering from chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) increase significantly after certain types of winter weather – and Medixine has used this data and the Met Office’s predictive forecasting model to create its COPD Health Forecasting system.

Automatic interactive calls provided by Medixine COPD Health Forecasting have helped thousands of patients suffering from COPD benefit from a better quality of life and avoid hospitalisation.

This alerts patients by automatic interactive voice calls in advance of impending high-risk periods, advises them what action to take, and asks a set of questions about their condition. Feedback on patient replies is sent automatically to their doctors the next day.

The service was introduced by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) in winter 2007/2008, when over 8,000 patients took part. The results were very impressive, with a 21-50% reduction in hospital admissions for participating practices and 90% positive feedback from patients.

Some 1 million bed days a year are accounted for by COPD patients in Britain, and the NHS spends over €1 billion annually on COPD-related costs, so the financial benefits of the system could be very substantial.

The service is being launched in Finland in winter 2008/2009, and will be rolled out in other selected markets in winter 2009/2010.

Screening youngsters

Another of Medixine’s eCare services making good progress is Medixine Growth Screen, which provides automatic growth screening to nurses and paediatricians. Developed in cooperation with growth specialist Professor Leo Dunkel, it provides comprehensive growth assessment assistance and helps eliminate unnecessary examinations and speed up diagnostic processes.

Growth Screen is currently in use with over 60,000 children and adolescents in Espoo in Finland. Growth and weight data entered by nurses into their patient management system is transferred automatically to a Medixine server, and any abnormalities picked up are forwarded to a team of paediatric endocrinologists, who provide care instructions where appropriate.

The system enables growth problems to be detected early on, which is essential for efficient treatment, and makes it possible to screen large numbers of children automatically. Together, these benefits have the potential to yield significant health cost savings.

Other Medixine eCare services – all of which are fully multimodal and support text messaging, automatic voice phone calls, Web, and mobile applications – include reminder, alert, eBooking, and disease management systems.

> Tapio Jokinen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)