Internet Portal for Telemedicine Programs to Change Lifestyles

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By order of Deutsches Institut für Telemedizin und Gesundheitsförderung (DITG), SYMILA, the Fraunhofer FIT application center at Hamm, implemented a telemedicine Internet portal for diabetes. The portal, centerpiece of an E-Health intervention system, collects and evaluates the data generated by telemedicine devices and lets the DITG coaches address the patients in a personalized way. Specific hints for altering their individual lifestyles help the participants take responsibility for their condition and thus improve their quality of life. 

The Deutsches Institut für Telemedizin und Gesundheitsförderung (DITG) develops and implements health management programs for health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and organizations with an internal health management system. These programs typically aim to improve the participants' quality of life while at the same time reducing health care spending.

On behalf of DITG, the SYMILA application center of Fraunhofer FIT in 2015 developed and implemented a telemedicine portal for monitoring type 2 diabetes patients and advising them on health-related problems. The participants in the program are given a set of devices like blood glucose meter, electronic balance and pedometer, whose data are collected in the portal in real time. Here they are converted to easy-to-understand charts that are available to the participants and to the coaches from DITG.

When a critical parameter exceeds a pre-defined threshold, the portal sends an automatic warning. It allows the coach to intervene as appropriate and avoid situations that might pose a risk to the patient. Thus the patient learns how to deal with her specific condition with a minimum loss of quality of life.

This portal was developed by Fraunhofer FIT and is now operated in a computer center of its own, in order to satisfy the requirements for data availability and data security. Access to patient data is controlled by effective safety mechanisms, based on a concept of users and roles that define the access rights of the different groups of users – patients in the program, their families, DITG coaches and the physicians involved. All data is stored and deleted in accordance with the legally compulsory periods of record-keeping.

The portal is based on a modular open systems architecture with flexible interfaces. Thus it can easily be extended to cater for other medical conditions, e.g. cardiac insufficiency or COPD.