Guelph, Ontario, Canada, March 31, 2020 – Canadian health-tech start-up Chipmunk Health is helping stroke rehabilitation patients in Germany continue their recovery at home — while helping them maintain social distancing and lowering their risk of exposure to COVID-19 by minimizing doctor visits.
In partnership with Strokemark, a Berlin-based digital healthcare innovator, Chipmunk is helping rehabilitation experts and neurologists develop a training program to guide and monitor home rehabilitation of stroke patients using Chipmunk’s remote patient monitoring platform. Their work expands on a pilot program that began in Germany last year.
“It is precisely those people in need of ongoing care who are most affected if they stay at home due to fear of COVID-19,” said Björn Crüts of Strokemark.
Chipmunk augments traditional health care delivery by providing a reliable, user-friendly platform that allows patients to check their key health indicators at home while being monitored remotely by caregivers at Chipmunk and/or their regular practitioner. Ideal for managing chronic illnesses including cardiopulmonary disease and diabetes, Chipmunk makes it easy for patients to record and track parameters such as blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and activity level. Over time, these “medical selfies” provide actionable data that allow practitioners to intervene when they see something out of the ordinary and, even better, detect patterns to help them anticipate problems before they occur.
“Essentially, we want to predict a stroke or heart attack before it happens. To do that, you need good data,” said Erik Duijsens, Chipmunk CEO. “In developed countries, chronic diseases cause 60 per cent of the deaths and consume at least 75 per cent of our health care budgets. Chipmunk gives patients a sense of control over their own condition, and peace of mind in knowing that someone is monitoring them. Our goal is to improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and save our health systems money by reducing unnecessary visits to doctor’s offices and emergency rooms.”
With health care systems around the world straining under the pressure of COVID-19 pandemic, providing effective remote health care services for chronically ill or vulnerable patients is more important than ever, said Crüts.
Patients prefer to stay at home
Until recently, Strokemark had offered a blended care program with patients doing exercises at home with remote monitoring, as well as group meetings every six with their health coach. But as the number of COVID-19 infections continued to grow, Crüts said more and more patients preferred not to go to the group training or appointments with doctors because of the fear of the virus. The Chipmunk platform gave Strokemark the flexibility to modify their approach and shift to a completely home-based program.
“Our approach allows people recovering from a stroke to continue working towards better health from the comfort and safety of their own homes,” Crüts said. “By helping them get fitter in general, we’re also arming their bodies against other diseases and infections.”
Complete home monitoring and training
Continuity of care and consistent monitoring are critical factors in stroke recovery. Using the Chipmunk platform equips patients with all they need to continue to work on their recovery at home. Patient intake, exercise programs and coaching can be offered completely remotely with the equipment needed for monitoring delivered to their homes.
Why home monitoring and training is so important
Crüts said the general thinking used to be that the recovery window for stroke patients closed a few months after their stroke. However, the latest research shows us that with the right training, recovery is possible even years after a stroke.
“If you follow certain rules and train effectively, you can function again, become stronger and healthier than you thought possible. And that is our motivation for developing this home rehabilitation program,” Crüts explained.
Strokemark also uses the patient data collected by Chipmunk to customize its programs to suit the needs of each patient.
“Personalized rehabilitation makes patients fitter, improves their quality of life and reduces the risk of a second stroke and other chronic conditions,” said Crüts. “More importantly, they can continue doing this from home during these uncertain times.”