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HOME TELEMONITORING FOR PATIENTS WITH SEVERE RESPIRATORY ILLNESS: THE ITALIAN EXPERIENCE

J Telemed Telecare 2003;9(2):67-71 Maiolo C; Mohamed EI; Fiorani CM; De Lorenzo A Division of Respiratory Diseases, A & C Cartoni Hospital, Rocca Priora, Rome

We investigated the feasibility of telemonitoring services for patients with severe respiratory illness. In the first phase of the study, patients were observed and treated using face-to-face medical visits for 12 months. In the second phase of the study, the patients were monitored at home for 12 months, during which time determinations of arterial oxygen saturation and heart rate were performed twice a week, and the data were automatically transmitted to the hospital's processing centre via a normal telephone line. Thirty patients on long-term oxygen therapy were enrolled in the study; 23 completed the 12 months of home telemonitoring.

The numbers of hospital admissions and of acute home exacerbations during the telemonitoring phase of the study decreased by 50% and 55%, respectively, in comparison with the first phase. Estimates of hospitalization costs for the patients during the second phase were approximately 17% lower than those for the first phase. Patients were satisfied with the quality of the personal telemonitoring process in 96% of cases.

We believe that telemedicine can enable the provision of high-quality home care for patients with severe respiratory illness

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