El Centro Nacional para el Control del Dolor y Cuidados Paliativos of Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) began a pilot plan to monitor patients remotely, with the aim of giving a more timely response to the change in health condition that these patients are presenting.
Dr. Catalina Saint-Hilaire Arce, general director of the center, explained that among the benefits of this service is that it allows these users to not have to be transferred to an emergency service or hospitalized.
The specialist said that they started with three patients as a pilot plan, the demos were loaned and that, at the moment, they are studying the experience, especially to see the acceptance of the service by the users.
Remote monitoring deals with equipment that is given to family members, they are trained and they are indicated at what time they will take their blood pressure, oxygen, and heart rate, among other measurements; and that information reaches the center electronically where a specialist is monitoring.
Saint-Hilaire said that the relatives have accepted him very well, they have not felt overwhelmed and the center has been able to give a timely response to what has been happening in the house of these three patients. “It is not for everyone, there are clear indications for which patients this remote management works, since it is for specific cases in certain situations that the specialist requires monitoring, “he added.
This pilot plan began at a time when the center has been reorganized to give continuity to services despite the emergency that the country is experiencing due to the impact of COVID-19 since March 2020. Among the reorganization of services is that physical therapy in addition to making the consultation by phone, is developing personalized videos for each patient of the exercises they must perform, which are sent by mail or by WhatsApp.
Additionally, the outpatient consultation and home visit are being provided by phone or video call, for evaluation, treatment extension and thus reduce the possibility of attending the patient in the center’s facilities or visiting him.
These patients who are attended by teleconsultation are given the coupon for their treatment and the scheduling of the next appointment, including some patients have gone to leave the medications at home because they have no way to pick them up at the center pharmacy.
In the facilities, the automatic door was closed and the patient entered only, only in special cases can they enter accompanied by a person, in order to reduce the number of people inside the center. Additionally, administrative and service staff are telecommuting, some of them are even working on updating clinical guidelines and work plans.