Individualized telemedical solutions 

Andrea Lutz
Published on September 8, 2020

The teamplay myCare Companion telemedicine solution was originally developed to care for patients with chronic diseases like heart failure, COPD, and diabetes. Its main purpose is to provide convenience and safety for patients. The teamplay myCare Companion allows healthcare providers to design their own telemedicine programs and flexibly adapt the underlying technology to their needs.

The team at the Mannheim University Hospital has discovered a new and interesting use for the teamplay myCare Companion solution. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, medical officers are using teamplay myCare Companions’ documentation- and communication components as a smart tool to monitor the health of their own physicians and nursing staff. At the push of a button, clinicians can see key parameters, can respond quickly to unusual results, and send team members to their physician or home, if necessary.

In the fight against a global pandemic, there’s a demand for speed and for unconventional solutions. Platforms are needed that encourage collaboration across institutional and departmental boundaries. The important thing now is to make widespread use of decentralized solutions, for example to save patients unnecessary trips to the doctor, provide medical officers with a quick overview, and ease the bureaucratic burden on clinical staff.

A digital health diary helps to monitor the staff’s vital parameters.

A good example of smart collaboration was provided last year by the Herz- und Diabeteszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen (Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia) in Bad Oeynhausen. The solution is initially used for the care of patients with chronic heart failure. It is in use under the name “HerzConnect”. When this innovative program was launched, no one could have imagined the role telemedicine solutions would soon play in caring for patients with chronic diseases. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now a matter of life and death for heart disease patients to maintain social distancing and be able to depend on health professionals to reliably monitor their condition remotely. Telemonitoring programs now enable these patients to use uncomplicated devices to take important readings at home on their own and transmit them to a specialist office to monitor their progress. The experts at the telemedicine center use the data to identify the patients for whom intervention may be indicated or who may require routine checks. This reduces the number of unscheduled hospital visits, and this is exactly what is now protecting patients in this risk group from the possibility of being infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Remote health monitoring became essential during the pandemic.

When a technology offers so many benefits and can also be flexibly adapted, the obvious question is: For what other purposes can it also be configured? Especially because the health of the professionals in the system must be protected, many options are currently being considered and tested. Mannheim University Hospital has discovered the benefits of teamplay myCare Companion for its own team and is utilizing uses the documentation- and communication components as a digital COVID-19 diary for its employees. The nursing staff and physicians who are taking care of COVID-19 patients are required to measure their own vital parameters – such as body temperature – twice a day and document them in a diary, following recommendations from the Robert Koch Institute1. The company medical team at Mannheim has now digitalized this process so there’s no longer a need for pens and paper. Instead, the employees record their results in the program interface of the “companion.” teamplay myCare Companion basically consists of two components, a Smartphone app for patients and a special workstation for the medical care providers. The patients – in this case, the on-duty healthcare professionals themselves – use the app to transmit information about their health status and their own vital parameter measurements to the medical officers. This allows the doctors to receive daily updates about the health of all their team members, and they can respond quickly to any changes. If any significant abnormal results are observed by the physicians – for example, if employees have a high temperature or complain of cold symptoms – they can be sent home as a precaution.

Medical officer Dr. Margit Eisenbarth describes the benefit of the app: “Previously we used to receive piles of diaries in paper form, but now everything is nicely available in a software. Employees can enter their data via an app or Website. This saves them valuable time, and we get an immediate overview.” And the University Hospital has already achieved a tangible benefit from using this tool during the COVID-19 crisis: “With this app, we can better protect our employees and patients,” says Professor Hans-Jürgen Hennes, the hospital’s Medical Director and CEO. “Unlike paper-based diaries, the program allows us to respond much faster, and it saves our employees administration time.” Recent weeks have shown that digital solutions are essential, and not just in exceptional situations. But this exceptional situation is giving a boost to the use of innovative solutions in many areas.

The teamplay myCare Companion telemedicine solution was developed in a partnership between Siemens Healthineers, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), and TELBIOMED Medizintechnik und IT Service GmbH in Austria. The partners agreed to set up a global sales and development partnership at the beginning of 2020.

By Andrea Lutz
Andrea Lutz is a journalist and business trainer specialized on medical topics, technology, and healthcare IT. She lives in Nuremberg, Germany.