Interviews

Medicines & Vitals in One Place - Why it Matters

September 26, 2021
  •  
5
min read
Mandeep Khaira
Head of Pharmacy Product and Partnerships

“I’ve heard many stories of patients who’ve forgotten to take their insulin and not mentioned it."

At VCare, our products help to give patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders the relevant information to make informed judgments at the right moment. This has been the driving force behind the innovative electronic medication product (eMAR) that is used in care homes to alert nursing staff to the risk of a potential missed medicine.

We have taken our experience in promoting medicine adherence in a care home context and channeled it within the VCare Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) product used in the community.  The VCare RPM records patient medicine adherence and physiological readings in a single place, empowering patients to look after their health whilst remaining independent. In the case of a health deterioration, both patient and their clinical team have full visibility regarding all aspects of their health.

Including medication consumption within the remote monitoring product is an extremely important element of maintaining a full, live picture of a patient’s health. This is because of the interdependency in the relationship between medication and vitals. Medicines can often manipulate vital sign readings and is therefore a fundamental aspect of understanding a person’s condition. It is no surprise that during a consultation and before asking any questions, a GP will typically first look at a patient’s prescribed medication. This is linked to the fact that weight, respiration rate, blood pressure, and heart rate, along with many other parts of a patient’s health can all be drastically affected by medicine consumption.

Vital sign readings by themselves will never provide you with the whole picture, if you do not know the medication that a patient has been prescribed, or more importantly has physically taken. If someone has just commenced a course of Furosemide (diuretic tablet), for example, it will affect their weight in the short-term.  A heart rate may appear stable and under control, but that patient could be taking Bisoprolol which regulates heart rate. In fact, Bisoprolol was invented to control blood pressure and so the drug can actually affect multiple vital signs.

For this reason, at VCare we like to think of medicine adherence as the “7th Vital” because it provides a great deal of context to so many other health readings. Whilst it can be useful, it is not enough to just be aware of the repeat prescriptions which a patient is on. This is because a person may not have taken their repeat medication for an extended period, perhaps due to a pain or symptom temporarily subsiding causing a patient to feel that there is no need to continue taking it. Sometimes a patient can be completely oblivious to non-adherence. Diabetic patients often simply can forget to take their insulin. To continue with the insulin example, a person often does not feel the impact of non-adherence to insulin for many years and it is therefore relatively easy to forget as people get on with their daily lives.

VCare’s in-house pharmacist, and Clinical Safety Officer, Mandeep Khaira says:

“I’ve heard many stories of patients who’ve forgotten to take their insulin and not mentioned it. Sometimes people say they’ve taken their insulin, when in fact they’ve just improved their adherence in the few days leading up to a review. The review will look at the last 3-months' blood sugar results (HbA1c). The result can be an insulin dosage being increased due to the perceived lack of blood sugar control, which can be serious and lead to a patient being hospitalised.”

Ultimately, if adherence is being recorded then these important bits of information are on record for GPs and other clinicians to see. In addition, and more importantly, VCare’s RPM nudges a patient to take their medicines at the right time which promotes improved levels of health amongst users. The connection to clinical teams is also integral as a patient’s care circle can see adherence and give advice regarding medicine consumption during regular clinical reviews, held remotely on VCare’s RPM platform.

The aim of the VCare RPM platform is to provide complete context of a patient’s health and for this reason the system is optimised to ask questions to a patient in periodic survey form. Also, other important aspects such as activity tracking through step-counts can also be recorded automatically within the platform.

At VCare Systems, we use technology to improve healthcare delivery for clinicians and patients. If you want to know more about how you can use remote monitoring in your organisation, get in touch by emailing: info@vcaresystems.co.uk

Mandeep Khaira
Head of Pharmacy Product and Partnerships
Mandeep has a wealth of experience at the intersection of pharmacy and technology and is helping the company to deliver on our mission to bring together medicines and physiological information to provide total patient context

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