Electronic Health Monitoring of COPD patients
Software that connects doctors and patients through electronic health monitoring.
- Discovery phase
- Product development
- System monitors the patient’s condition several times a week via SMS messages
- It notifies the attending physician of any health deterioration
- It also generates interesting analysis and statistics
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COPD patients are often unaware of their deteriorating health. They only have regular check-ups with the doctor at certain intervals, so it may happen that the doctor adjusts the treatment later than they should.
COPD is a chronic disease that requires regular check-ups by a doctor. With this type of diagnosis, it often happens that the patient underestimates the ongoing control. In addition, the period of the pandemic has made it difficult to see a doctor. As the treatment of COPD is in the hands of pulmonologists, who were severely overwhelmed by patients with COVID during the pandemic period, this is doubly true. We have therefore developed a solution that helps monitor health status digitally and thus partially replaces the absence of physical examinations at the doctor’s.
The average age of the monitored patients was around 60 years, so we tried to make it as easy to answer and log in to the system as possible. The patient received the login details from his doctor, which they entered on the website in case they needed to fill in a questionnaire. The login could be saved, so the username and password were required from patients only once. As many as 88% of sent SMS messages received a response from patients, which documents that the chosen model works. Even less technologically proficient users were not only able to work with the system, but were also willing to provide data on a regular basis. Patients with deteriorating conditions were able to complete the questionnaire several times in a row, which provided valuable data on the subjective development of their health status. We tried to make the questionnaire as simple as possible so that the patient filled it in quickly and was understandable to them, but at the same time so as to provide the doctor with the necessary information.
One of the challenges of this project was the advanced age of the respondents, another was the doctors themselves and their technical capabilities. Not all physicians are digitalized and not all want to address their patients’ health online, despite the undeniable benefits for the patient.
We used the Laravel framework and the MariaDB database for development. These technologies have enabled us to develop a solution that ensures reusability and rapid response to changes that have occurred during the operation of the project.
We used simple, ordinary SMS messages to electronically monitor patients’ health. We had to think about the technological skill of the older target group, which we did not expect to be so flexible and to access the system through a mobile app or a computer. So we wanted to maximize the number of responses by making the whole process comfortable for the patient. That’s why we have integrated an SMS gateway that allows you to send thousands of SMS messages in a short time. Over the course of four weeks, we sent out thousands of SMS messages.
As the questionnaires were multilevel, some answer could be followed by another question. Based on how the client answered, we sent another question using a system for periodic event triggering, the so-called cron job.
Electronic health monitoring was successfully completed after the specified period. It was evaluated very positively by the client, as they received valuable data that serves as a basis for decision-making processes. Thanks to this survey, we were able to identify several monitored patients whose health was subjectively deteriorating. As a result, the doctor was informed and was able to make timely decisions. It is therefore a bit of an exaggeration to say that the project was able to prolong the quality of life, as it captured changes in health so quickly that the doctor was able to stabilize the patient by adapting the treatment.
Our solution opens the door to a discussion on the possibility of using digitization in healthcare. The connection of modern technologies with healthcare helps doctors in diagnosing and adjusting treatment. For patients, in turn, such modernization can mean early diagnosis or early treatment change to prevent further complications.