Patients with long-term conditions such as chronic pulmonary diseases represent a major health-care problem for the public health-care systems. Among these conditions are the sleep apnea syndrome (SAS), neuromuscular diseases with respiratory involvement, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A recent study showed that over 27,000 people died from COPD in 2004 in the UK, and that caring for these patients represented a cost of 6.6 billion pounds for the UK national health-care system.7,8 The spiraling health-care budgets and the economic downturn we are facing in our days are forcing health-care providers to look for new cost-effective solutions to provide the best possible care. Information technology (IT) and particularly the new ways of delivering care remotely through telecare interventions seem to be a pivotal aspect in this question.19 IT can be implemented as web-based applications,9,10 mobile phone and alert systems,17,23 or telephone and videoconferencing to be used with chronic patients who are at their homes.5,13
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This work was partially supported by grants BFU2007-61034 (MEC), BFU2010-14968 (MICINN), FEDER, NanoBioMed Consolider-Ingenio 2010, Fondo Investigación Sanitaria PI08/90769, and Rede Galega de Nanomedicina.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease –
A pulmonary condition caused by a combination of diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive airways disease. The main symptom is an inability to breathe in and out properly.
When related to health represents the relationship between a gain in health and the cost associated with the health gain.
Breathing discomfort. It is a common symptom of many medical disorders, particularly those related to the respiratory or cardiovascular systems.
Health care or supportive care provided in the patient’s home by health-care professionals.
Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 –
A widely used, generic, patient-report measure created to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the general population.
Neuromuscular disease –
A broad term that includes many diseases that involve muscle and/or nerves.
Monitoring the oxygenation of a patient’s hemoglobin.
Oxygen saturation –
The relative amount of oxygen that is carried in the blood.
Instrument that records several physiological events.
A comprehensive recording of biomedical parameters during sleep.
Pulse oximeter –
Medical device used to measure the oxygen saturation of a patient’s blood.
Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire –
A standardized self-completed questionnaire for measuring impaired health and perceived well-being (“quality of life”) in airways disease.
Sleep apnea syndrome –
A disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow, despite the effort to breathe.
A device used to measure the blood pressure.
Measurement of the volume and/or glow of air that can be inhaled or exhaled. It is the most common pulmonary function test.
Systems based on knowledge –
Intelligent tools working in a narrow domain to provide intelligent decisions with justification. Knowledge is acquired and represented using various knowledge representation techniques rules, frames, and scripts.
Delivery of health-related services by means of telecommunication technologies.
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