Healthcare

Telehealth cooperation First nationwide provision of support for high risk COPD patients in Germany For improved health

  • Bosch Healthcare, Techniker Krankenkasse and Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus aim to enhance patients’ quality of life
  • A.T.e.m. program kicks in with very high-risk patients
  • Bosch Telehealth system successfully implemented in the USA for over a decade
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  • May 30, 2012
  • Healthcare
  • Press releases

press release

Stuttgart/Hamburg – Bosch Healthcare, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) and the Robert-Bosch-Hospital (RBK- Robert-Bosch-Hospital) in Stuttgart have initiated the “Alltag mit Telemedizin erfolgreich meistern” (A.T.e.m.) project (“Coping with everyday life with telehealth support”), which will for the first time permit Germany-wide provision of support for critically ill patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Patients participating in the program use the Bosch Telehealth system to answer questions about their respiratory condition, measure vital signs such as oxygen saturation and receive information about their medical condition, its risk factors and their general state of health on a daily basis. This information is sent daily to the telehealth center at the RBK, where it is evaluated by qualified medical professionals in order to identify potential changes in the patient's health early on and, where necessary, contact the patient or attending physician.

“Our goal is to respond to a worsening of patients' condition early on and to avoid stays in hospital wherever possible. That is not only good for patients, but also good for us as a statutory health insurer,” explained Dr. Jens Baas, Deputy Chairman of TK's Board of Management. “For the first time a Bosch Healthcare solution is being introduced Germany-wide that, on a daily basis, already supports 50,000 patients in the USA,” Dr. Siegfried Dais, Deputy Chairman of the Robert Bosch GmbH Board of Management with responsibility among other things for the Healthcare division, added. “The intensive care of patients with complex chronic conditions helps to stabilize their state of health and, consequently, make them feel better,” stressed Prof. Dr. Mark Dominik Alscher, Medical Director of the RBK.

Third most frequent cause of death
According to estimates, more than six million people in Germany are currently suffering from COPD (based on the BOLD study, Geldmacher 2008). However, only around 1.5 million of these have been diagnosed (Chapman 2006). Surveys conducted by the Federal Statistical Office indicate that 80 patients die from the disease every day in Germany alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates that by 2030 COPD will be the third most frequent cause of death in Europe after heart failure and stroke (World Health Statistics). Approximately 100,000 COPD patients are currently registered with the Techniker Krankenkasse alone (of a total of around eight million policyholders). And this trend is on the rise: “If telehealth can help us to improve or at least stabilize the health of these patients we can spare them one or more stays in hospital, which a worsening of their respiratory problems would otherwise make inevitable,” Baas said. He added that this was also relevant from a cost point of view, given that each of these hospitalizations entails an average cost of 4,000 euros.

As a first step, it is planned to include at least 300 patients in the program, Germany-wide, whose potential for a worsening of their condition, also called an exacerbation of COPD, is assessed as being particularly high and who are at risk of requiring acute hospital treatment in the near future. “The intensive medical care helps patients to feel more confident in their familiar home surroundings, which in turn improves their quality of life,” said Medical Director Alscher. The Techniker Krankenkasse has already contacted the first patients with an invitation to participate in the program. Participation will not involve any additional costs for the patients.

System successfully implemented in the USA for over a decade
This program builds on the Bosch Telehealth system that has been implemented in the USA for over a decade. In addition to the daily transmission of health data, patients receive detailed information about their disease within their own home via their in-home device. This helps them to cope with their situation better and consequently avoid relapses over the long term. As well as COPD, the Bosch Telehealth system is also used successfully to monitor other chronic diseases such as heart failure and diabetes. “Here we go a long way towards living up to Bosch's vision of “Invented for life”,” explained Dr. Jasper zu Putlitz, president of Bosch Healthcare.

“The collaboration between the health insurance fund, the hospital and the company is built on a strong cooperation with the patients' medical providers,” Ullrich Hipp, managing director of Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus GmbH stressed. Without the support of local doctors, who know the patients personally and monitor their progress, a decisive component of the telehealth program would be lacking. The care of patients is governed within the scope of an integrated medical services contract pursuant to Section 140 SGB V (German Social Insurance Code, Statute Book V). Other clinics are expected to collaborate in this telehealth infrastructure in the coming years. “We hope other health insurance companies will also participate in the near future,” zu Putlitz said.

Bosch Healthcare is a pioneer and global market leader of telehealth solutions and a leading provider of telecare systems in Europe. The Telehealth division offers payers and healthcare providers a broad portfolio of telehealth products and services aimed at supporting patients with chronic diseases in the home environment and contributing to an efficient and sustainable healthcare system. The Bosch Telehealth System delivers educational content, records health data (incl. symptoms and vital signs), transmits the processed data to the respective healthcare provider and provides the patient with feedback. The Bosch telehealth system currently monitors over 50,000 patients with chronic diseases worldwide in order to support their care. The success of the system - documented in over 30 publications - results from the timely identification of patients at risk of their condition worsening, and from support of improved patient self-management. The Bosch Care Solutions division offers a range of home service call solutions that allow people to live securely and independently in their own homes while having access to assistance 24/7 at the touch of a button. NurseCall systems allow those living in retirement homes, nursing homes and other assisted living facilities to have direct access to an emergency call button which they can press if they need to alert nursing staff.

Bosch Healthcare has a staff of 320 and, in addition to its headquarters in Palo Alto (USA,) is represented worldwide at locations in Grasbrunn near Munich, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) and Waiblingen near Stuttgart.

DThe Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, more than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros in fiscal 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.2 billion euros for research and development in 2011, and applied for over 4,100 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

Further information is available online at www.bosch-telemedizin.de, www.bosch.com, www.bosch-presse.de.

The Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus Robert Bosch Hospital (RBK -Robert-Bosch-Hospital) is a hospital supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation which provides secondary and tertiary care at three locations. With 935 beds, the RBK and its Klinik Charlottenhaus and Klinik Schillerhöhe locations admit some 39,000 inpatients a year. A number of certified medical centers in 17 specialized departments, a center for further education and an internationally renowned research institute, the Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institut for clinical pharmacology, are associated with the hospital, which has a staff of over 2,000.

Further information is available online at www.rbk.de

With more than eight million policyholders, the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is one of the largest health insurance companies in Germany. Around 12,000 full-time and 11,000 voluntary employees provide 24/7 service, 365 days a year and deliver innovative solutions and healthcare offerings all over Germany. Independent institutes affirm the TK's high level of service and performance quality. In a test conducted by the business magazine Focus Money, the TK secured the title "Germany's best health insurance provider" for the sixth time running.

Further information is available online at www.tk.de, www.presse.tk.de.

PI7745 - May 30, 2012

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