City University, London, is to evaluate Doc@Home, a remote online clinical data gathering and healthcare management service provided by Docobo (UK), as part of a European Union (EU)-funded trial of remote clinical monitoring for 300 patients with chronic conditions at four different sites in England, Portugal and Estonia.

The work forms part of a project called REALITY, backed by 1.2M Euros of EU funding, which is intended to examine the ‘quality of life and management of living resources’.

As part of the evaluation, the Centre for Measurement and Information in Medicine (MIM Centre) of City University will work in conjunction with a South London GP, a cardiologist in Estonia and both an urban and rural hospital in Portugal. Seventy-five patients will have their health monitored from home in each of these four centres.

Patients involved in the project will use Doc@Home in their homes to record essential parameters such as ECG and blood pressure, and to collect various quality of life measurements.

The Doc@Home system provides patients with a hand-held Data Collection and Interaction unit (DCI), which sits in a cradle connected to the patient’s standard telephone line at home. Data is transmitted to Doc@Home, which automatically compares levels against those defined as acceptable for the individual patient. This information is passed over the Internet to a doctor or nurse, who can intervene if appropriate.

Dr Abdul Roudsari, who leads the work at the MIM Centre, part of City University’s School of Informatics, commented: “We have chosen to use Doc@Home for a number of reasons: not only is it ready to deploy, it is also working and offers the security of patient data that is so crucial.”

Docobo’s services are targeted at those with specific chronic and related aliments, where remote clinical monitoring services can help improve patients’ quality-of-life, and give them increased control over their condition.

Docobo says that by shifting responsibility for the day-to-day care from healthcare professionals to patients and reducing the likelihood of expensive emergency hospitalisation, its service help to reduce the level of demand placed on healthcare systems.

“The management of patients with chronic conditions in the community remains a challenge for healthcare providers,” stated Adrian Flowerday, managing director of Docobo. “This evaluation will enable healthcare professionals across Europe to gain an increased trust in the benefits of automated home-based patient monitoring.”

Docobo was formed from a pan-European consortium in 1999, which brought together the extensive experience and expertise of a number of technologists and healthcare professionals to offer a range of remote clinical monitoring and data collections services.