My e-Hospital: bringing hospital care to patients at home

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge strain on hospitals with many patients needing medical observation over several weeks. But some people may not need to stay in hospital for this to happen, as modern telemedicine can enable people to report their condition themselves.

Together with Dr Thea Kølsen Fischer and her research group at Nordsjællands Hospital, Netcompany has developed My e-Hospital – an app and browser-based medical device that helps hospital staff monitor people with COVID-19 and other viruses that cause pneumonia and support them in their own homes.

The pandemic has led to many countries experiencing a shortage of hospital beds. There is also a high cost to hospital care. In Denmark, it costs EUR 283 per day1 to provide a bed for someone at a public hospital. And medical staff are at a high risk of catching the virus, spending many hours of their day in close contact to COVID-19 patients.

To manage the risks to patients and medical staff, hospitals have had to restrict visitors, which puts added stress on patients and their families. And COVID-19 is not the only risk. Treating people with long-term medical conditions and responding to other epidemics, such as annual outbreaks of the flu, can also increase pressure on hospitals.

My e-Hospital allows people to be “admitted” while staying at home. This reduces the strain on hospital resources while ensuring a safe recovery in familiar surroundings.

All of this means we need to find safe ways to treat more people in a cost-effective way while making sure they receive the best medical experience. My e-Hospital is the answer.

It is a medical device that allows people to be ‘admitted’ to hospital while staying at home. It uses two components: a cloudbased care plan management system (CMS) that allows doctors and nurses to monitor and manage their patients’ care through a computer browser, tablet or mobile phone; and a ‘My e-Hospital’ app, which patients download to their mobile phone or tablet and use to report their condition.

How it works

The medical team identifies patients who are interested and would possibly benefit from home admission, and who agree to do that. While admitted at the hospital, the patient is taught how to measure their heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature and oxygen saturation using various medical devices. They also have the option of measuring their blood sugar levels, if needed. They are also shown how to download the app to their phone or tablet, log in using their personal ID and set up a PIN or use their device’s fingerprint or face recognition for security. They are shown the app’s functions, such as notifications, and the step-by-step instructions for self-reporting.

Once ‘admitted’ at home, the patient takes their measurements and self-reports them at specific times during the day, following the steps in the app. The app reminds them when to report and when to attend a virtual ward round with a doctor, which is done over video call once a day. They can also use the app to ask for direct contact with the hospital if they have questions or changes in their condition.

Back at the hospital, the medical teams use the care plan management system to monitor the patient’s condition using the self-assessment data entered in the app, and through scheduled video appointments. A ‘traffic light’ system alerts them to any issues, with red alerts for situations that need an immediate response, yellow for those that need attention within 30 minutes and green for minor issues, which should be responded to within 6 hours. They also receive text reminders of scheduled appointments.

A first of its kind medical tool

Nordsjællands Hospital and Netcompany are the first in Denmark to develop a tool to release beds, reduce the risk of infection, free up precious time for doctors and nurses and enable patients to be admitted and monitored in their own homes. The app has already caught the attention of other Danish hospitals who are keen to see how it develops and begin using it themselves. In the future, we hope that we will be able to offer My e-Hospital to more hospitals in Denmark and around the world, enabling a better use of resources and improving experiences for patients.

"The system is easy to use . It’s not difficult to measure yourself and if I can avoid hospitalization at the same time, that would be nice. I would love to receive treatment at home."

— Patient from My e-Hospital clinical trial

 

1Takstvejledning 2020.pdf Sundhedsdatastyrelsen, 2020