Digital support against Covid-19 in Germany

First published:
February 4, 2021
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Ed Sykes

HAMBURG, Feb. 4, 2021

To combat the pandemic, the first hospitals and GPs across Germany are already successfully using so-called Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). The patient app and the corresponding physician dashboard from Huma that are being used were developed in close cooperation with university hospitals in Germany. After the test phase, the first German federal states are rolling out Huma's solution statewide. The app is primarily provided by hospitals and the associations of statutory health insurance physicians or other public partners at the state level. COVID patients use it to log their symptoms and physiological measurements independently from home. After release by the patient, the attending physician can monitor the values closely in real-time. With the help of a handy measuring device, a pulse oximeter, patients also record oxygen values, making it easier for doctors to detect dangerously low saturation of the blood, known as "silent hypoxia".

Baden-Württemberg will be the first state to offer COVID-19 patient monitoring statewide, in close collaboration with the Telemedicine Coordination Office and the Baden-Württemberg Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration. Next, Hesse and Thuringia are using the Huma solution nationwide, and it is in the final stages of evaluation in other states. Across Germany, hospitals and GPs are already using it to provide care to patients at home.

"In Baden-Württemberg, we are in the process of offering digital outpatient care across the board. In this way, we relieve the burden on the healthcare system because it is easier for the attending physicians in private practice to see when a patient needs to be admitted to inpatient treatment or can be considered cured," says Prof. Dr Oliver G. Opitz, head of the Telemedicine Coordination Office in Baden-Württemberg.

How the solution works with Huma

Doctors equip their COVID-19 patients with a pulse oximeter, which anyone can use to take very simple measurements on their finger. In addition, each patient receives a code for the app, which must then be downloaded. Patients first enter their baseline data. They are then asked to enter data on their vital signs in the app three times a day, as well as their symptoms once a day. Medical staff can now remotely see in real-time how the disease is developing in their patients. Since they retain full control over their own health data at all times, their consent is required for this.

A dashboard displays vital signs including respiratory rate, temperature, oxygen saturation and heart rate of connected patients, as well as their symptoms. Changes that occur over time are documented, highlighting patients who may need further evaluation or even hospital care. In this way, patients are followed for 14 days. If they are free of clinical symptoms for at least 48 hours, they can also be "released" digitally.

"Digital solutions for remote care of COVID-19 patients have several invaluable advantages for our hospital: First and foremost, they help us to detect early on the dangerous silent undersupply of oxygen to the blood in COVID-19 patients receiving outpatient care. The aim is to admit these patients as inpatients at an early stage in order to avert a severe course of the disease requiring intensive care and thus also to keep the utilization of intensive care capacity under control. In addition, the data basis for each individual patient is much better thanks to the daily recording of central values. This also allows for an optimally coordinated treatment strategy in the outpatient area," explains PD Dr Stefan Hagel, Managing Senior Physician at the Institute for Infectious Medicine and Hospital Hygiene at Jena University Hospital.

Huma is driving digitization in healthcare

Huma is a global health tech company that has dedicated its knowledge in digital biomarkers, digital therapy offerings, decentralized clinical trials and RPM solutions, as well as its resources to pandemic relief. This focus has allowed Huma to work with clinicians and healthcare professionals from various institutions to develop and deliver this COVID-19 patient solution relatively quickly. Huma's RPM solutions add value in the fight against COVID-19 infections but are also suitable in the context of many other diseases. Huma solutions are also in use in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

Huma Germany Managing Director Alexander Winterling comments, "In the pandemic, the immense added value of digital solutions such as the Huma app for sustainable and patient-specific healthcare is once again abundantly clear. However, our system also supports doctors, nurses and patients in other scenarios, for example before and after operations or in the case of long-term illnesses. We hope that the digitization steps now achieved for better care of the population will be decisively and sustainably expanded even after this crisis."

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Media contact:

Ed Sykes, Communications