In-Home Telemonitoring for Veterans trial

On 29 November 2011, the then Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, announced an $8 million 3 year trial which will enable chronically ill veterans to have their health monitored by health professionals without leaving their home. Veterans will still have access to their GP for face-to-face consultations as required or preferred.

Around 300 veterans will be able to participate in the trial in a number of NBN connected areas. The trial sites are to be advised.

Veterans in the trial will have an individual health care plan developed for them in consultation with their GP and a practice nurse coordinator. They will have telemonitoring equipment installed in their home and be trained to use it. The equipment will measure vital signs and securely transmit the data using the National Broadband Network’s high speed broadband. The data will be monitored by a practice nurse coordinator and the veteran’s GP. Any irregularities detected will allow prompt intervention. Participating veterans will also have access to video consultations with their GP or practice nurse coordinator.

The potential benefits to those veterans and war widows participating in the trial include technology enhanced management of their chronic conditions and less time spent travelling to appointments.

Overseas experience has shown that telemonitoring can have significant health benefits for those involved, including more responsive management of chronic conditions.

Importantly, the trial will be closely linked with the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program, which provides ongoing, planned and coordinated care, led by a GP with a practice nurse coordinator, to eligible veterans who have the following chronic conditions: congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and who have complex care needs and are at risk of an unplanned hospitalisation.

All information will be provided via a secure format and the safety and privacy of personal data will be protected.

Questions and Answers

Telemonitoring

How can I get on the trial?

If you are a Gold Card holder with specific chronic conditions and live in one of the trial sites, your GP will contact you if you are suitable for the trial.

Which chronic conditions will be targeted?

The trial will target the chronic conditions: congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes.

How does telemonitoring work?

Telemonitoring involves installing health monitoring equipment in a veteran’s home so that the veteran’s health can be monitored by the veteran’s GP and practice nurse coordinator. The veteran’s vital signs are measured and tracked using the home-based monitoring system that securely transmits the vital signs over high speed broadband.

The vital signs will be monitored by the veteran’s practice nurse coordinator. The practice nurse coordinator liaises with the GP where vital signs are outside the normal range and intervention is necessary. The nurse coordinator is also in regular contact with the veteran to help coordinate the care plan, address any issues that the veteran may have and provide support to the veteran. This might be by phone, by electronic messaging or by videoconference.

What will the monitoring system include?

Medical equipment that is accurate, reliable and simple to use such as a blood pressure cuff, pulse and glucose monitor.

What does the system measure?

The monitoring system will send measurements such as blood pressure, pulse and blood glucose levels and other indicators important for the management of the chronic conditions to the veteran’s practice nurse coordinator.

What are the benefits of remote patient monitoring?

Regular monitoring has the potential to facilitate a veteran continue living in their own homes for longer, improve their quality of life and reduce preventable hospitalisations.

Will telemonitoring or videoconferencing replace normal GP visits?

No, veterans will still have access to their GP for face-to-face consultations when required or preferred.

How many people are expected to benefit from the project/trial?

Around 300 veterans with the specific chronic conditions, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes will be encouraged to participate in the trial.

What are the links between this trial and the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program (CVC)?

The trial will be closely integrated with the CVC Program to enhance the existing range of DVA services for veterans with selected chronic conditions and to build on a platform that already provides planning and coordination of care for veterans with complex and chronic conditions.

What about veterans who live outside the NBN locations?

Veterans living outside the NBN sites will still be provided with access to the quality health care they have come to expect as holders of a Repatriation Health Card (Gold, White or Orange Card) from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. If eligible, these veterans can also participate in the Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) Program which provides comprehensive coordinated care for veterans and war widows with specific chronic conditions.

Locations

Where will the trial take place?

The trial will take place in identified National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout sites to be advised.

Dates

When will the trial start?

Individual general practitioner and veteran  participation in the trial is expected by mid 2013.