Digitising Model of Care for patients who suffer from chronic diseases
Digital healthcare provider, WhiteCoat, partnered with on-demand home caregiving services platform, Homage, to launch pilot telehealth programme which provides chronic disease management to elderly patients.
SINGAPORE | 30 SEPTEMBER 2019
Perhaps we have acclimatized to our lack of work-life balance and irregular sleep schedules, and accepted this lifestyle as a small price to pay in exchange for life in a vibrant cosmopolitan city. Little did we know that we will eventually have to pay the price for our unhealthy lifestyle choices. A local study has shown that the number of older adults who suffer from chronic diseases is surging – with the proportion of older adults with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubling from 2009 to 2017. Our rapidly ageing population compounds this problem, increasing the demand for accessible healthcare options in Singapore.
In a time of increasing demands on physician productivity, computer and communication technologies allow health professionals to meet clinical demands at an affordable price, and with increased accessibility. The progressive emphasis on universal health coverage and more accessible healthcare for all, the telemedicine industry is only expected to grow.
In response to this growing trend, Singapore’s digital healthcare provider, WhiteCoat, has partnered with Homage, an on-demand home caregiving service platform, to launch a pilot telehealth programme that incorporates the human touch into digital healthcare to complement home-based care. What sets this programme apart from other businesses of the same nature is that it caters largely to older patients who are suffering from chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are lifelong diseases which are generally progressive. As such, it is very important to monitor the progression of the disease with a care management model that involves frequent patient contact and regular physiological measurements. In the past, this would mean frequent trips to the hospital, which entails long wait times and increased exposure to nosocomial pathogens. Today, with the introduction of the aforementioned telehealth scheme which allows these elders to consult a doctor from the comfort of their homes, these inconveniences can be a problem of the past.
“For many of our elderly loved ones, travelling elsewhere to seek medical attention or just a simple refill of their chronic medication can be a daunting experience which is both physically and emotionally exhausting. It can also be very stressful for their caregivers who juggle the daily demands of work, children and caring for their loved ones. Today, we are glad that our technology can be leveraged for a good cause and provide peace of mind that elderly loved ones will be able to receive timely and affordable medical attention, including their required medication in the comfort of their homes,” said Bryan Koh, CEO and Founder of WhiteCoat.
Through its mobile application, WhiteCoat will allow Homage customers to choose from a selection of medical services, ranging from teleconsultations to prescription and delivery of medication. Not only does the digital solution provide increased convenience for the elderly patients, it has also been identified to produce better results. Telehealth allows for a more personalised care model -- It gives healthcare professionals insight on how the chronic disease is progressing over time, and enables them to quickly adjust the course of treatment based on the patient’s reaction, greatly facilitating prognosis and treatment planning. Use of technologies for chronic disease care management has been associated with reductions in hospitalizations, readmissions, lengths of stay, costs; and better adherence to medication, among many other benefits.
As part of the pilot programme, WhiteCoat and Homage have jointly implemented a set of standards to determine whether the medical conditions experienced by a Homage customer can be safely handled by WhiteCoat via telemedicine. Homage’s care professionals will also be trained on basic medical procedures and protocols to better assist customers who wish to use WhiteCoat to consult a doctor. The strategic partnership between WhiteCoat and Homage is fundamental to ensuring a seamless integration of care services engineered around the home setting, allowing those suffering from chronic diseases to recover gracefully.
This article was contributed by Michelle Tan Min Shuen, an editorial intern at World Scientific Publishing Co. and a contributing writer for Asia-Pacific Biotech News. She is from Nanyang Girls' High School, has a keen interest in chemistry and the life sciences, and pursues taekwondo in her free time.