COPD IN FOCUS introducing three new digital solutions for more efficient diagnosis and treatment of a severe pulmonary condition

09.03.2018

On 9 March at the event “Digital solutions in the management of chronic diseases: Experience of the COPD IN FOCUS programme” that presents the results of an innovation programme dedicated to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and discusses how to bring innovative digital health solutions in the Estonian healthcare system more quickly.

The programme COPD IN FOCUS was implemented upon the initiative of the Estonian Respiratory Society involving all stakeholders by the Connected Health cluster of the Science Park Tehnopol. The programme aimed to find innovative solutions on how to identify more efficiently people living with COPD and organise their treatment with better results. “When speaking about chronic diseases, it is always the heart disorders that are in the focus since the mortality rate is so high for these conditions. COPD has been ignored even though it ranks first among Estonian men and second among women on years lost due to disability,” explains Dr Rain Jõgi, chairman of the Estonian Respiratory Society and head of the Pulmonary Clinic of the Tartu University Hospital.

The programme’s EUR 40,000 innovation fund was used to support the prototyping and testing of three innovative ideas for solution. “Within the framework of COPD IN FOCUS, three teams composed of clinicians and health technology startups have worked on ideas for solutions in the past four months. Today, they will present the prototypes of solutions and share their experience gained during testing on patients,” says Kitty Kubo, innovation lead of the Connected Health Cluster.

The solution “Smart screening of COPD and SPG at the primary level”, which is designed to make the process of finding COPD patients more efficient, was developed by the Järveotsa Family Health Centre, Pulmonology Centre of the North Estonia Medical Centre, and technology companies Dermtest and Diagnostic Match. The telemedicine solution “My COPD” can be used to home monitor severe COPD patients to prevent exacerbations and to support self-management of the disease. It is backed by the team of the Pulmonary Clinic of the Tartu University Hospital and technology companies Cognuse and Quretec. The prototype of a solution that supports COPD patients in pulmonary rehabilitation, “Breathe and Move”, was born in the co-development of the Pulmonary Clinic of the Tartu University Hospital, Rehabilitation Centre of the North Estonia Medical Centre, Tartu Health Care College, and health technology startups MotionChart and Sentab.

The focus of the workshop was on how to bring innovative digital solutions to healthcare professionals and patients faster than it happens today. “COPD IN FOCUS initiated developments that are relevant for Estonian healthcare, from which all stakeholders can learn and move on. To keep momentum and continue, we want to think through roadmaps on how to go on and which changes need to be achieved in Estonian health system and its funding to cover the whole innovation process from piloting to scale-up and routine use,” Kubo adds.

The discussion was inspired by Susanne Duus from the Danish Agency for Digitisation who presented how, by 2019, home monitoring service will be made available to every COPD patient in Denmark. The decision is based on the results of several pilot projects, which demonstrated that home monitoring improves treatment outcomes, prevents exacerbations and related costly hospitalisations, improves the quality of life of people living with COPD, and enables health care cost saving.

The programme was powered by GSK, Novartis, and Boehringer Ingelheim.