When evaluating the pervasiveness of a disease and its effects on a broad segment of the population, it is far too easy to limit our focus on generalities. Who is most affected by this disease? How many people have it? What is its mortality rate? While these questions are certainly important to the overall examination process – especially when dealing with a disease as overwhelmingly as COPD – this clinical approach leaves little room for analyzing complexities; the nuances of the day-to-day experiences of those affected. These intricate details are largely overlooked. For instance, neither the World Health Organization nor American Heart Association offer many publications on the everyday difficulties of COPD sufferers, while statistics on hospitalization estimates and death tallies can be found in abundance.
To really understand a disease, to develop treatment options designed for practical, everyday use, it is essential that we not overlook the subtleties. Telehealth grants us the ability to focus on these smaller details and help detect the complications that will not only negatively impact individual patients, but also give us a better understanding of diseases, as well as the tools and knowledge to treat those diseases efficiently.
When looking at the big picture, it’s easy to see how devastating COPD is. Next to heart disease and stroke, it is the single biggest killer worldwide. In the United States alone, more than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, with millions more entirely unaware of their infliction. There’s no way around it: COPD is an absolute monster of a disease. If you look past the numbers, however, you will find that COPD is also manageable. You will discover that telehealth-based COPD management programs have been shown to drastically improve the quality of life in those suffering with this disease. You will find that COPD patients have been able to reduce their healthcare costs. You will learn how remote patient monitoring has brought care directly to patients’ homes, granting them the freedom and ease of receiving care outside of traditional facilities.
COPD is a disease with a lot of moving parts, and telehealth is designed to analyze and manage every one. With the aid of an ehealth system, COPD patients have access to technology used to collect vitals such as heart rate, blood pressure, and weight fluctuation. Furthermore, patients are prompted to fill out daily questionnaires regarding shortness of breath, chest tightness, lightheadedness, and other signs of complications associated with COPD. All this information is gathered at a near continuous rate, where it is uploaded to an integrated system to be evaluated by medical and clinical professionals 24/7.
By keeping a close eye on possible complications and offering a system designed to remedy those complications as they develop, COPD patients can find much needed comfort in telehealth services.
About Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas is the president of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions. In 2004, she developed and secured funding for the first Medicaid-covered telemonitoring program within the Disease Management Department for the State of Missouri. Seeing the need that various industries had for cost-saving solutions that could provide improved health outcomes for patients, she began Advanced TeleHealth Solutions in 2011. Thomas is an expert on diabetes telehealth programs and a nationally renowned speaker, using her expertise in telehealth monitoring to educate hospitals, home health agencies, and other companies and organizations about the benefits of telemedicine solutions.