Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 13, 2020: The Dubai Diabetes Centre (DDC) announced today that they are conducting a study on the effectiveness of virtual health-follow ups for patients using home-monitoring devices, mobile technologies and software to track daily patient data and plan interventional strategies in real time to avoid complications of the disease.
The study was announced during His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority’s visit to the centre.
Al Qutami said, “The DHA strongly focusses on the emphasis of technology to better patient care, improve efficiencies and drive down costs of healthcare. In the current healthcare climate, globally, there is been a surge in the importance of tele-health. At the DHA, we aim to continue employing various technologies that fit the nuances of the healthcare landscape in the Emirate with an aim to empower patients by providing them with timely assistance and follow-up and thus leading to improved personalized patient care. We are keen to continue medical research especially in the field of healthcare and technology to help empower patients and further improve patient care and compliance.”
Dr. M. Hamed Farooqi, Director of the Dubai Diabetes Centre said, “Diabetes is a chronic disease, one that needs regular follow-up to avoid complications. In general, over time, patient compliance reduces and they tend to miss follow-up appointments and healthcare providers need to constantly remind patients to adhere to their follow-up schedule. Even a gap of three to six months of no-follow up can be severely detrimental to diabetic patients, especially those with other comorbidities. Therefore, the aim of this study is to provide diabetics with home monitoring devices and regularly receive data from them so that we can keep a close eye on their condition.”
He said the study will take place until the end of December and the aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of tele-monitoring devices, in glycemic control and its effectiveness to help improve blood glucose control remotely.
Presently diabetics have home monitoring devices which they use to check their blood sugar and blood pressure. They store the data in the devices and when they go for their follow-up appointment, which is typically every two to three months, the endocrinologist sees the data at one go. During this period, if the numbers are higher than usual the patient has to contact the Dubai Diabetes Centre and schedule a phone consultation or an appointment.
For this study, the DDC coordinated with Cognitive Healthcare International (CHI) and they designed the devices and software based on the DDC’s requirements for the study.
Forty patients were selected for the study. They were provided with four home-monitoring devices: A blood pressure monitor, a blood glucose monitor, heart rate monitor and pulse oximeter. Additionally, they were provided with a pill box which has their medications in it and the box beeps every day at the time that the medicine needs to be taken. If they don’t take the medicine on time or miss the medicine, the data is immediately sent to the centre.
The patients were also given a mobile phone which needs to be placed close to the devices at the time the patient uses these home-monitoring devices.
Dr. Farooqi said: “The mobile has the software which captures all the patient data and automatically sends it to our centre. In the data room, the data gets automatically triaged as green, yellow and red based on artificial intelligence. Green means the results are fine, yellow means the readings are slightly abnormal and red means that the levels are such that the patient needs intervention. If the data falls under the yellow category, the patient is automatically sent a push notification, which informs him that the results are slightly abnormal, and therefore the patient needs to take the necessary measures as already advised by healthcare providers. If the data falls under the red category, the patient gets a call from DDC and the healthcare provider can provide a phone consultation or request them to visit the centre for further consultation.”
“At the end of every week, the doctor receives a weekly patient report for each patient,” says Dr. Farooqi. “This kind of real-time monitoring helps the patient stay on-track and also ensures there is no time-gap in terms of physical consultation which means complications can be greatly reduced which is important given the nature of the disease.”
He says that they are currently testing a video call feature for this study.
Dr. Farooqi says the study will be completed by early next year and then the centre will evaluate its effectiveness and whether it should be incorporated within the system.