HGE Health Extends Telemedicine Service to Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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IPF telemedicine service

HGE Health of Philadelphia is partnering with the Temple Lung Center to offer a telemedicine disease management program for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients in the United States and elsewhere.

The healthcare technology company already has a similar program for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. The Temple Lung Center, part of Temple University, performed 131 lung transplants in 2017 — the highest in the nation.

HGE created the HGE Health Care Advanced program to help COPD patients breathe easier. It allows patients and their physician to quickly adjust treatment protocols when their symptoms worsen. Now it is expanding the program to IPF patients.

IPF progression varies from person to person. The disease mostly affects middle-aged and older adults and has a limited number of treatment options. Receiving a lung transplant is the only treatment that can meaningfully improve lung function, quality of life and, in certain cases, survival.

“Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a debilitating, emotionally challenging disease that limits its sufferers from living a full life. IPF patients can experience worsening of their respiratory symptoms, especially breathlessness and cough,” Michael J. Markus, the chief executive officer of HGE Health, said in a press release.

“Our unmatched leadership in telemedicine-based programs in COPD and lung transplant patients is why we’re so confident we can provide the same timely care for IPF patients. By providing adjustments to the treatment plan based on a change in symptoms, we have the opportunity to improve respiratory symptoms in patients with IPF and perhaps compliance with their IPF medications. A telemedicine-based disease management program for patients with IPF has the promise to improve their quality of life as well,” Markus added.

Initially, the mobile technology service will be available to Temple Lung Center’s 3,500 to 4,500 patients with pulmonary interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), many of whom have IPF. Several patients have to travel long distances to use the center’s services. A telemedicine program could save them time and money.

With HGE Health’s telemedicine program, patients use a smartphone to communicate with HGE Health’s platform and report their daily symptoms to their doctor. The physician has the option of making immediate changes in treatment, knowing that the faster that certain medical issues are addressed, the better the outcome.

“We’re excited about the possibilities our technology will offer to IPF patients,” Markus said. “We recognize that they are highly vulnerable, more fragile and face a high rate of mortality as their disease progresses. However, if we can be the critical bridge between these patients and the transplant physicians taking care of them, we’ll be able to give these men and women an entirely new lease on life.”

HGE Health reports that more than 80 percent of COPD patients submit their symptoms daily, seven days a week. The average healthcare provider’s response to changes in patients’ symptoms improved from more than four days down to six hours using the telemedicine service. Use of the program is also associated with a considerable reduction in COPD patient-related emergency-room visits, inpatient admissions, inpatient days and readmissions.

Telemedicine programs are increasingly used to serve populations living in remote areas. Despite living physically far from their closest healthcare provider, they can access internet services almost instantly.

For more information about HGE Health’s program, please visit this link.

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