Oslo municipality has opened for the use of contactless sleep monitor Somnofy to follow up elderly community members and patients. This may build far reaching digital home care in Norway’s capital.
Oslo municipality’s search for providers of digital home care
In 2019, Oslo municipality published a call for private companies to come forward with solutions to provide digital home care services for the elderly and chronically sick in the entire region. The Norwegian health tech company Dignio, which for a decade has developed and markedet solutions for all types of remote monitoring, was chosen as the main cooperation partner. An important puzzle piece in Dignio’s offering was the sleep monitoring unit Somnofy.
— We were both happy and proud when Dignio together with VitalThings won this contract. It is one thing to gain the trust of Oslo municipality, but another equally valuable dimension of this cooperation is the possibility to prove Norwegian technology to secure patients’ and relatives’ dignity, provide safety and even improve upon the professional follow-up. This step will reduce the municipality’s cost; resources to be freed up for other prioritized areas, says Alf Egil Bogen, CMO at VitalThings.
Oslo is at the forefront of this area of expertise and has for a long time had digital home care offerings in cooperation with Dignio in four city districts. Patients can perform measurements at home and receive follow up by health personnel at a central response center. If the measurements range outside of a given threshold level, an alert is issued in the platform which informs the healthcare worker.
The independent VIS-report quantifies the clear value:
— The results from these pilots showed a reduction in cost per patient of 47%, with 32% fewer hospital admissions including reduced need for home care, says Marianne Wilhelmsen, market- and communications manager at Dignio.
Wilhelmsen continues to point out the user’s satisfaction with the follow up provided in the pilots which increases the feeling of being taken care of, while at the same time giving more control and increasing interest in their own health status. In the course of the past year, Dignio performed a comprehensive product development phase and has worked to integrate more and more new instruments from other providers into their own systems. Now, Oslo municipality has performed their so-called acceptance test and Somnofy will likely soon be put into action in Norway’s most populous municipality. The health and care department in Oslo now has the tool to monitor their patient’s health status remotely with previously unseen comfort and accuracy.
— We are really looking forward to work with Oslo. It is our belief that Somnofy’s flexible backend solution with encryption capabilities and the easy integration of our systems with existing IT infrastructure was a positive factor for our candidacy, says Alf Egil Bogen. Regarding the available functionality, user-adjusted alert solutions and continuous reports for healthcare personnel regarding the user’s health status are being pointed to as really unique for Somnofy.
Based on analyzing measurements over time, healthcare workers will be put into a position where they can detect indicators for a change in health status. This opens for the evaluation of early measures to be put into place to counteract any potentially negative development.
— One of the best things about our solution is that all these analyses and measurements are taken without the use of camera surveillance, without the user having to really do anything, or even without anything having to be attached to the body or the bed to register vital health data, says Bogen.
Healthcare in Norway is the largest and maybe most important sector of all. One of six workers is employed here and one fourth of the entire national budget flows through its canals. In the future, fewer and fewer workers will have to finance the welfare state while more and more people join the elderly ranks.
— Norwegian healthcare services must go through massive changes if the system is to be transformed with regards to sustainability. This in turn poses sky-high demands towards innovation and system renewal. At Dignio we are convinced that technology will become the key to perform this feat, says Wilhelmsen.
But this development is not only borne by technology providers alone. In the government’s National Health and Hospital Plan 2020-2023 many propositions for simplification and improvements of healthcare services in Norway are being given. The plan is clear about the «out-house hospital», which means to move the hospital home to the patient. This is followed up by local healthcare facilities and the hospitals themselves.
Wilhelmsen explains that the Healthcare department has in addition sent explicit letters to all local government managers to help with guidance for a quick increase in abilities for digital healthcare. In 2030, Norway will have 50% more people over the age of 70 compared to today. Without any change, 30.000 healthcare workers will be missing to be able to handle this.
— We experience the healthcare industry as ready for change now. The market for digital home care has matured over a very short period of time. The solutions have gained extra focus from the corona virus pandemic. Technology like this is ideal to follow up patients in home quarantine or risk groups, she adds.
The market- and communications manager points out that Dignio on a general basis only chooses to integrate innovative technology which lives up to Dignio’s strict quality standards regarding user-friendliness, precision and safety.
— We don’t produce hardware ourselves but are always chasing the best products which are clinically relevant and can be used by patients at home. Somnofy has an extremely exciting application opportunity. In addition to it being non-invasive, it also requires very little competency of the user when it contactlessly monitors the patient’s vital signs. This offers healthcare workers the ability to interpret the health status almost in real time. Together with the other tools in the offering, there is a constant dialogue with the patient to provide additional information before a decision is made. Based on all this input, the healthcare personnel can easily give good advice and act to solve precise problems. We are looking forward to more and more municipalities and hospitals using Somnofy in their follow-up on patients and hope that they can utilize this valuable information which is now available, says Wilhelmsen.
This article is translated by Lukas Krondorf.