Title

Remote Monitoring of Chronic Diseases: A Landscape Assessment of Policies in Four European Countries

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Journal

PloS one

Volume

11

Issue

5

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0155738

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Remote monitoring (RM) is defined as the surveillance of device-transmitted outpatient data. RM is expected to enable better management of chronic diseases. The objective of this research was to identify public policies concerning RM in four European countries. METHODS: Searches of the medical literature, the Internet, and Ministry of Health websites for the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, Italy, and Spain were performed in order to identify RM policies for chronic diseases, including end stage renal disease (ESRD), chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension. Searches were first performed in Q1 2014 and updated in Q4 2015. In addition, in depth interviews were conducted with payers/policymakers in each country. Information was obtained on existing policies, disease areas and RM services covered and level of reimbursement, other incentives such as quality indicators, past/current assessments of RM technologies, diseases perceived to benefit most from RM, and concerns about RM. RESULTS: Policies on RM and/or telemedicine were identified in all four countries. Pilot projects (mostly in diabetes, COPD, and/or heart failure) existed or were planned in most countries. Perceived value of RM was moderate to high, with the highest rating given for heart failure. Interviewees expressed concerns about sharing of medical information, and the need for capital investment. Patients recently discharged from hospital, and patients living remotely, or with serious and/or complicated diseases, were believed to be the most likely to benefit from RM. Formal reimbursement is scarce, but more commonly available for patients with heart failure. CONCLUSIONS: In the four European countries surveyed, RM has attracted considerable interest for its potential to increase the efficiency of healthcare for chronic diseases. Although rare at this moment, incentives to use RM technology are likely to increase in the near future as the body of evidence of clinical and/or economic benefit grows.

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