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Chronic Disease Sufferers To Benefit From New At Home Diagnostic Device

People who suffer from chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and heart problems should benefit from a new remote, home care monitoring system that could also bring an end to overcrowded waiting rooms.

With project partners in Estonia, Latvia and the UK facing research costs of over 2 million, the development of Doc@HOME® was made possible with the help of a grant of 1.1 million from the Information Society Technology (IST) Programme of the European Unions Framework Programme. It is now set to improve the quality of life of thousands of people, including the elderly and disabled, by freeing up time currently spent on doctors and hospital visits. This in turn will help ease the pressure on the family doctor. Low cost and easy to use, Doc@HOME® gives the patient a sense of control over their condition and allows their medical carers to stay ahead of the disease. It also provides education about the disease and its risk factors, and supports lifestyle modification strategies that need to be introduced to help manage the condition. Adrian Flowerday, managing director of the UK partner Docobo UK, is confident the new system will be welcomed around the world, saying: "The World Health Organisation sees Chronic Disease as being the greatest challenge to the healthcare systems and populations of the world this century. The Doc@HOME® service provides a low cost, home based chronic disease management solution to help the national healthcare organisations address these challenges. Patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and diabetes will be enabled to monitor and control their own condition, confident in the knowledge that the healthcare systems are monitoring their progress." Peter Walters, UK National Contact Point for IST within the EU's 6th Framework Programme, believes that the Doc@HOME® project is a prime example of the major contribution EU funding has in the development of information and communications technology: This project shows how, with the right financial support, information technology can have a much wider role to play in our futures. Without support from the EUs Framework Programme this project may not have been possible.,The Framework Programmes are the EU's main vehicle for support of leading edge, internationally collaborative R&D. The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the 17.5bn available should log on to http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080. With over two billion people in the world suffering with Hypertension and Diabetes, conservative forecasts indicate that Doc@HOME® will have around 300,000 users by 2007. Potential customers for the system include both public and private healthcare organisations, health conscious consumers, insurance companies and occupational health departments within large employers, and the manufacturers have already identified a potential sales revenue of £70 million. The system is being trailed with two NHS organisations and patients involved in the trials are pleased with the service. I would like to control my blood pressure without having to become dependant upon medication, says businessman Ian MacDonald of Glasgow. The Doc@HOME® service helped me to appreciate and control my blood pressure. I had to travel a lot during the period of the trial and this handy, portable unit made it easy to monitor my blood pressure and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. Anything that enables people to have better control of their health must be a good thing. Fellow patient John Millar, also from Glasgow, added: It will be particularly helpful to people just starting on medication as it also reminds you when to take it. I would also recommend it to my doctor as I believe that any system that helps reduce the pressure on him has got to be a great concept. The device includes basic ECG capability for arrhythmia and the detection of other long terms trends. It can also integrate with other pieces of medical equipment blood pressure, weight, glucose measuring devices etc - to collect, store and forward the entered data. Already the system is being adapted for patients who need regular monitoring for a number of medical conditions, including: Chronic Heart Failure (CHF), Asthma, Diabetes, Post-Stroke care and surveillance, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Chronic respiratory disease. The system is also expandable to more general interest groups like weight control and personal fitness programs, and reduces the overall cost of patient care, bringing a rage of benefits to the patient, their family and their doctor. Patient benefits include:,- A more active role in the health support process,- More control over the symptoms of illness and therefore more freedom of life,- Improved chances to continue regular working by freeing up the time spent on regular visits to medical institutions,- The sense of care immediacy Benefits to the doctor include:,- A continuous and adequate overview of the health status of the patient in their actual living environment,- Easier management of a large number of patients,- A reduction of the misplaced time and expenditures Family members also benefit by having a better overview of the health status of their relative, and the pressure on hospitals will be eased thanks to a reduction of admissions of patients with chronic conditions for routine examination. The system is built around a low-cost device (the projected end user cost is around 200 Euros) specially constructed for the purpose of long-term trouble free data collection, with design features considering the needs of the typical home care population (elderly people, disabled people etc). For further information, please contact Adrian Flowerday on +44-1372 363747 or visit http://www.docobo.co.uk Background information: ,The Doc@HOME® service operates through a hand held Data Collection and Interaction unit (DCI) which sits on a cradle connected to the patient's standard telephone line. With a single large screen and just a few large buttons, the DCI summons the patient to his or her next data collection session, usually by audible personalised tone. The patient then simply provides answers to questions and if instructed by the unit to do so, records ECG and bioimpedance data simply by holding the unit for a short period and then returning it to its cradle. If additional sensors are being used such as blood glucose monitor, the patient may be instructed to take the appropriate measurement and enter it into the DCI, or it can be transferred automatically via wire connection or, increasingly in the future, by Bluetooth® wireless. Similarly, if the patient should for example be instructed to exercise or take medicine during a data collection session, the effect will be monitored. In this way, compliance with the treatment regime can be confirmed and since all measurements are time coded and encrypted, reliability of collected data is assured. Collected data is sent to a secure database where it can be analysed for simple automated response to the patient, or, should collected data indicate say, an adverse trend, the clinician will be alerted. In any event, the authorised clinician has access to collected data at all times via his or her standard internet web browser.The EU's Framework Programmes are the worlds largest, publicly funded, research and technological development programmes. The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) covers the period 2002-2006 and is the European Unions main instrument for the funding of collaborative research and innovation. It is open to public and private entities of all sizes in the EU and a number of non-EU countries. It has an overall budget of 19 billion. Most of the budget for FP6 is devoted to work in seven priority thematic areas:,? Life sciences, Genetics and Biotechnology for Health;,? Information Society Technologies;,? Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences, Knowledgebased Multifunctional Materials and New Production Processes and Devices;,? Aeronautics and Space;,? Food Quality and Safety;,? Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems; and,? Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society. There is also a focus on the research activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across all seven thematic areas. The services of FP6UK are provided by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) / Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). More information can be found on http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk ,IST Programme ,The IST Priority Thematic Area (PTA) of the 6th Framework Programme(FP6) is the largest of the seven PTAs with a budget of 3.6bn over the lifetime of FP6. The first Call for proposals with a budget of 1070m - closed in April 2003. The second Call closed on 15 October 2003 and had a budget of 525m.

Countries

Estonia, Latvia, United Kingdom