Ahti develops several projects on cardiovascular risk management (CVRM): ATHENA and DHoTS. Herein, digitisation (e-health) plays an important role, as it can time- and cost-effectively improve the care process between patient, provider and payer.

The health situation

Worldwide, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death; almost a third of all global deaths are annually related to CVDs (source: World Health Organization). Also in the Netherlands, CVDs form a major cause of (premature) death and disability. This is represented by an annual amount of €8,3 billion on healthcare expenses.

The challenge

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the biggest risk factor for development of CVDs. In the Netherlands, almost 1 out of 3 people between 30 and 70 years of age has hypertension (source: RIVM). Early detection, management and treatment of hypertension (cardiovascular risk management) is hence key to improve public health, lower the number of CVD deaths, and realize a decrease in healthcare expenses. Moreover, if the patient is included in this process, he/she also improves self-management and the quality of care. Altogether, this leads to healthier people that are more satisfied with the care they receive at lower costs (triple aim).

The projects

In order to meet this challenge, ahti develops several projects on cardiovascular risk management (CVRM) that include the three elements of the triple aim. Herein, digitisation (e-health) plays an important role, as it can time- and cost-effectively improve the care process between patient, provider and payer. Another important role is played by the general practitioner, as he or she is the first practitioner and contact person for hypertension in the CVRM care chain in the Netherlands.

1. Amsterdam Telemonitoring and Hypertension Initiative (ATHENA)

In collaboration with Amsterdam UMC and Heart for Health ICT, partly funded by Health~Holland (Topsector Life Sciences & Health), ahti develops and tests a self-monitoring tool for hypertension patients, that enables them to measure their blood pressure regularly at home. The outcomes of these measurements are then integrated with an automated triage and treatment system based on smart algorithms. In this way, the patient receives personalized medication and treatment advice to regulate blood pressure, tailored to his or her situation.

2. Connecting the DHoTS: Digital Health from Technology to Services

The abovementioned self-management tool for hypertension patients, we will also integrate into the care practice and digital environment of the general practitioner, so that the results of the blood pressure measurements by the patients at home and the resulting personalized advice are automatically forwarded to their general practitioner (with the consent of the patient). This process enables the general practitioner to keep a better – and constant – eye on the patient’s situation while the patient stays in control of his care situation. In case of an emergency, the professional can adequately adjust the treatment plan.

To ensure a durable, efficient and effective embedding of this service in the overall care process between patient, professional and payer, we also realize a Digital Health Platform. The Platform incorporates the operational-financial and technical sides of the digital CVRM care service and supports its future expansion to other care domains (e.g. diabetes or asthma/COPD). To this end, the payer (health insurance company Zilveren Kruis) is involved in the project too. In consultation with the general practitioners, Zilveren Kruis pursues a feasible reimbursement structure for the integrated digital care service.

Ahti carries this project out in close collaboration with Amsterdam UMC, Regionaal Overleg Huisartsen Amsterdam (ROHA) and Hearth for Health ICT. The project is financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (EFRO).