Following a trial, Telecom Italia will launch a home monitoring service for patients under treatment in the Molinette Hospital in Turin. And the regional government for that part of Italy is proposing to extend the service “to cover large sections of the population”, according to the operator. Telecom Italia says its service is expected to be used by other hospitals to monitor “as many as 5,000 patients” in their own homes. The operator’s service is called Nuvola It Home Doctor and was developed internally. The service takes home readings from patients equipped with a dedicated handset which uploads the information to Telecom Italia’s data centre over a GPRS, Edge or 3G network. The service can also operate over ADSL, Wi-Fi or satellite infrastructure. Doctors remotely monitor data and adjust their treatment if necessary.
Healthcare providers pay Telecom Italia a per-user fee for its service and do not need to establish dedicated IT infrastructure. The operator says because Nuvola It Home Doctor is a cloud-based service, it can be delivered in a scalable and flexible form from its data centre. The service was devised by Telecom Italia Lab and delivered as software that is configured on the patients and nursing staff’s mobile handset or tablet. Patients receive reminders take readings on their handset. Measurements are taken using Bluetooth-enabled devices that automatically upload readings via mobile handset. Doctors and nurses can remotely monitor the process and intervene where necessary. They can also set up personal thresholds for patients using SMS or email. During home visits, nurses can send data via a mobile device to doctors, as well as accessing medical records.
Home monitoring is suited to patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, bronchitis and heart conditions as well as other patients who need to keep certain metrics under control such as bodyweight, diastolic and systolic blood pressure, heart rate, glycaemia, blood oxygen saturation, spirometry and ECG tests.
The service is being made available to patients at the San Giovanni Battista University Hospital of Turin, known as the Molinette Hospital. It will be gradually introduced to the cardiology, pneumology, neurology, haematology units and some areas of internal medicine. The Region of Piedmont and the AReSS also wants to roll out the same service to patients elsewhere in the region.