The aim was to evaluate the effect of a 12-month individualized health coaching intervention by telephony on clinical outcomes.
An open-label cluster-randomized parallel groups trial. Pre- and post-intervention anthropometric and blood pressure measurements by trained nurses, laboratory measures from electronic medical records (EMR). A total of 2594 patients filling inclusion criteria (age 45?years or older, with type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, and unmet treatment goals) were identified from EMRs, and 1535 patients (59%) gave consent and were randomized into intervention or control arm. Final analysis included 1221 (80%) participants with data on primary end-points both at entry and at end. Primary outcomes were systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum total and LDL cholesterol concentration, waist circumference for all patients, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) for diabetics and NYHA class in patients with congestive heart failure. The target effect was defined as a 10-percentage point increase in the proportion of patients reaching the treatment goal in the intervention arm.
The proportion of patients with diastolic blood pressure initially above the target level decreasing to 85?mmHg or lower was 48% in the intervention arm and 37% in the control arm (difference 10.8%, 95% confidence interval 1.5-19.7%). No significant differences emerged between the arms in the other primary end-points. However, the target levels of systolic blood pressure and waist circumference were reached non-significantly more frequently in the intervention arm.
Individualized health coaching by telephony, as implemented in the trial was unable to achieve majority of the disease management clinical measures. To provide substantial benefits, interventions may need to be more intensive, target specific sub-groups, and/or to be fully integrated into local health care.
In the hospital district of Helsinki and Uusimaa, 32 municipalities with one or more health centres provide primary care to their residents. Legal and organizational barriers between primary care and hospital care impede the continuity of patient care. Integrating primary and secondary care with the aid of information technology may facilitate a virtual electronic patient record, in which the viewing of images and other patient data is possible regardless of the organization that produced them. For example, in one trial, diabetic patients sent their home blood glucose measurements by modem to their health centre. Preliminary observations suggest that they could increase their glucose testing largely because they were able to transmit the results to the database and receive teleconsultations. Also, a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) has been in operation in two clinics of the Helsinki University Central Hospital for over two years and seven hospitals had become filmless by the end of 2001. A regional PACS is planned to be completed by the year 2004.
In Finland, the shared record is a virtual electronic health record (EHR). It consists of health data generated, maintained and preserved by different health care service providers. Two different kinds of technologies for integrating regional EHR-systems are applied, but mainly by using a common middleware. Services provided by this middleware are EHR location services using a link repository and combining EHR-viewing services with security management services including consent management and identification services for health professionals. The Regional Health Information Organization (UUMA) approach is based on a stepwise implementation of integrated regional healthcare services to create a virtually borderless healthcare organization--a patient centered virtual workspace. In the virtual workspace multi-professional teams and patients collaborate and share information regardless of time and place. Presently the regional health information network (RHIN) is comprised of three integrated services between primary, secondary and tertiary care within the county of Uusimaa. The regional healthcare modules consist of an (1) eReferral network, (2) integrated EHR service between health care professionals and (3) PACS system. The eReferral between primary and secondary care not only speeds up the transfer, but also offers an option for communication in the form of eConsultation between general practitioners and hospital specialists. By sharing information and knowledge remote eConsultations create a new working environment for integrated delivery of eServices between the health care providers. Over 100,000 eReferral messages (40 %) were transferred between health care providers. Interactive eConsultations enable supervised care leading to the reduction of outpatient visits and more timely appointments. One third (10/31) of the municipal health centers are connected to the clinics in the Helsinki University Central Hospital by the eReferral system. The link directory service extends the dimensions of networking between organizations by combining legacy systems within regional primary and secondary care. The link directory is an interface to diverse patient information systems, like HUSpacs, containing links pointing to the actual patient data located in remote information systems. The original data including images can be viewed with a web browser, but data can be accessed only with the patient's informed consent. Currently the reference data base includes 9.5 million links from 1.4 million patients with over 2.000 daily users. We aim to create a new working environment for professionals by incorporation of innovative information and communication technology, new organization of work and re-engineering of workflows. In the near-future, the citizen will have an active role participating in decisions on his care, carrying out guided self-care and taking steps of pro-active prevention.