In the current issue of the German healthcare journal “E-Health-Com”, Prof. Dr. med. Kamler, Head of the Thoracic Organ Transplantation at the University Hospital Essen (Germany), reports how patients with an artificial heart assist device benefit from Join and how the app increases patient safety.
The short version of the article:
Initially meant as a temporary surrogate until a donor heart is available, artificial hearts considered nowadays as long-term therapy for many patients: the VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) takes over the function of the heart and ensures that the overall health of the cardiac patients stabilized and previously damaged organs such as kidney and liver recover. Today, artificial heart patients can use the VAD for more than five years, but which requires an intensive aftercare.
Around 80 VAD patients are cared for at the University Hospital Essen, primarily by the VAD coordinators. So far, the support has been conventional: The patients note their values daily on paper and bring them to the standard examination with that takes place once a quarter. A quarterly review of the values carries risks: complications such as driveline infections, stroke or heart failure are difficult to identify.
Use of the communication app Join
By using the Join, such complications could be recognized at an early stage. Hospital stays could then be avoided because the patient had already been helped via Join, for example by adjusting the medication. Or, in case of an emergency, all preparations for the patient can be done ahead of time: there is no waiting time or search for a free bed, patients can be helped directly and without losing time. VAD patients and VAD coordinators communicate securely and quickly via Join. Patients can share their values, photos, text and voice messages daily and discuss questions.
In 2020, a hospital admission was prevented thanks to the necessary adjustment of the medication detected by transmitting photos and values before via Join. Another patient could be taken electively to the emergency room after his shared controller figures revealed critical values. It only took 40 minutes from sending the photo via Join to the treatment in the emergency room. Patients also stated their quality of life improved, because of the daily monitoring.
The VAD project was awarded with the AKTX Care Award and made it to the Top 3 at the German Telemedicine Award 2020.