Canton-Potsdam Hospital pulmonologist has new way to assist COPD patients
Canton-Potsdam Hospital Pulmonologist Frederic Seifer, MD, and Sonya Moyer, LPN, discuss the Spire Health Remote Patient Monitoring equipment used for COPD patients. The device is smaller than two quarters. Photo submitted by St. Lawrence Health.
POTSDAM – A Canton-Potsdam Hospital pulmonologist is using a device smaller than two inches wide to monitor the breathing of some of his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients.Frederic Seifer, MD, was invited by the Spire Health to use the Remote Patient Monitoring device with some of his patients. Those participating are provided with a cell phone-sized Home Hub unit they set up at home, and wearable, padded sensors which simply adhere to the inside of their underpants.
Dr. Seifer noted a large concern among rural American health care providers is how they can extend quality care to their patients, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) is offering the potential solution.
“Spire has been working on RPM devices for years, and they realized if they want a patient to wear it, it has to be very easy to use. If the patients have to do anything to keep it working, there will be a low retention in them continuing to use it,” Dr. Seifer said. “The other prerequisite is that it has to be unseen by the public.”
The adhesive device is completely washable, so can remain on the same pair of underpants. The average patient who washes their clothing once a week would be given seven to eight devices so they can get through an entire week without having to worry about doing laundry.
A baseline of each patient’s breathing is created over the first two weeks of wearing the device. The device “talks” to the Home Hub, and the information is sent to the Cloud. St. Lawrence Health has partnered with Phillip’s to have skilled Senior Respiratory Therapists monitor the patients’ breathing 24/7. If the Therapist notices a significant change in the patient’s breathing, they call the patient to see if that individual is doing something to affect his/her normal breathing pattern. If the patient is, for example, climbing stairs, the Therapist will realize the pattern change is normal. If, however, the patient is not doing anything different, the Therapist will reach out to Dr. Seifer or his nurse, Sonya Moyer, LPN, who will contact the patient.
“We have some patients who now feel validated that what they are experiencing is real,” Ms. Moyer said. “They don’t have to prove how they feel.”
“To get people involved, Sonya identified existing patients who could benefit from the program. When I called them to tell them about the product and ask if they wanted to participate, the embraced the idea,” Dr. Seifer said. “We started this in February, and by the end of March we had over 40 patients enrolled.”
Dr. Seifer believes this cutting edge technology will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the quality of care he can provide to his patients.
“I can intervene when my patients are having an episode, and I may know two or three days before they would know. If I didn’t intervene, they could end up in the Emergency Department or Urgent Care once the episode has really started affecting them, and then it’s harder to get them feeling better,” he said. “RPM will eventually reduce their office and hospital visits, and hospital readmissions.
“COPD significantly reduces a person’s lung function. If we can reduce the severity of COPD exacerbations, perhaps we can slow this down,” Dr. Seifer added. “To date, there is no medication that slows the decrease in lung function. If Spire can accomplish this, it will be incredibly amazing.”
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