A new study exploring the effectiveness of virtual health follow-ups using home-monitoring devices and mobile technology is currently being conducted by the Dubai Diabetes Centre (DDC) with the support of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in the United Arab Emirates.
Running until the end of December, the study is being carried out in collaboration with Cognitive Healthcare International (CHI), a local partner that has designed the devices and software being used based on the DDC’s requirements.
WHY IT MATTERS
The aim is to use the technology to track daily patient data and “plan interventional strategies in real-time to avoid complications of the disease,” the centre said.
“Diabetes is a chronic disease, one that needs regular follow-up to avoid complications. In general, over time, patient compliance reduces and they tend to miss follow-up appointments, and healthcare providers need to constantly remind patients to adhere to their follow-up schedule,” said M Hamed Farooqi, director of the DDC. “Even a gap of three to six months of no follow-up can be severely detrimental to diabetic patients.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Detailing the study, Farooqi added that 40 patients have been provided with four home-monitoring devices for blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, and pulse and oxygen saturation. They have also been given a smart tablet box that beeps every day at the time any medication is required to be taken. Should a dose be missed, that data is immediately shared with the DDC team leading the research.
Patients will also be required to use a special smartphone throughout.
“The mobile [phone] has the software which captures all the patient data and automatically sends it to our centre. In the data room, the data gets automatically triaged as green, yellow and red based on artificial intelligence,” said Farooqi, adding that green represented good results, yellow meant readings are “slightly abnormal”, and red indicated results “that the patient needs intervention.”
He continued: “If the data falls under the yellow category, the patient is automatically sent a push notification, which informs him that the results are slightly abnormal, and therefore the patient needs to take the necessary measures as already advised by healthcare providers.
“If the data falls under the red category, the patient gets a call from DDC and the healthcare provider can provide a phone consultation or request them to visit the centre for further consultation. At the end of every week, the doctor receives a weekly patient report for each patient.”
ON THE RECORD
“At the DHA, we aim to continue employing various technologies that fit the nuances of the healthcare landscape in the emirate to empower patients by providing them with timely assistance and follow-up and thus leading to improved personalised patient care,” said Humaid Al Qutami, director-general of the DHA. “We are keen to continue medical research especially in the field of healthcare and technology to help empower patients and further improve patient care and compliance.”