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Smartphone home measurements of medication effects help build the data economy

A project between Oulunkaari and Sitra is testing a smartphone app in the treatment of patients using anticoagulant medication. The results of the measurements taken by patients at home are transferred from their phones directly to the healthcare system, reducing laboratory visits and making the work of nurses easier.

Writer

Kirsi Suomalainen

Lead, Communication and Public Affairs, Sitra

Published

Anticoagulant medicine is used to prevent and treat blood clots. The treatment usually requires frequent laboratory visits, as blood coagulation is monitored during treatment by measuring the INR (International Normalised Ratio) value in a blood sample. Laboratory visits are 1-2 times a week at the start of treatment and then every 1–2 months.

Oulunkaari local authority aims to streamline the everyday routines of patients and nurses and is testing telemetry as part of Sitra’s project concerning digital treatment. The project started in May and the aim is to involve all suitable patients from health centres in Pudasjärvi, Simo, Utajärvi and Vaala.

Preliminary results show that telemetry makes patients’ daily lives easier and saves money. Patients avoid frequent laboratory visits and they can take more responsibility for their treatment. Up-to-date information goes directly to nursing staff, allowing them to intervene quickly in case of anomalies.

Sitra is running a total of six experimental digital treatment projects focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation of different diseases and syndromes. The aim is to promote the uptake of digital treatment solutions in Finland that have been proven to be effective and gather experience of their use. In addition to providing better treatment and cost savings, the trial projects aim to provide more evidence on the suitability of digital therapies for healthcare.

A national model should be built in Finland to allow the adoption and substitution of digital therapies, as with medicines. In addition to equality for patients and better treatments, this would make Finland an increasingly attractive environment for companies in the field and generate new business. Instead of the current fragmented market, the national model would harmonise requirements and reduce duplication of effort for both companies and buyers.

The trial projects are part of Sitra’s Health Data 2030 project, which is creating solutions, fair rules and a bridge for cross-border use of health data in Europe and supporting the development of Finland’s health sector competitiveness.

See also Oulunkaari’s press release (in Finnish), which includes the views of nurses and patients on the trial project.

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