A key figure from ResMed, a global company providing cloud-connected products for sleep and respiratory conditions, has spoken to Health Tech World about the firm’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his expectations for the long-term adoption of digital technology.
ResMed produces medical devices to treat people with sleep apnoea, COPD, and other chronic diseases.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the company began to accelerate the production of its ventilators, while also placing more of an emphasis on remote monitoring technology.
Antoine Valterio, UK and Ireland country manager, spoke to Health Tech World about ResMed’s response to the pandemic.
“When back in March, and then April, which was really when the peak hit the UK, there was clearly a huge demand for ventilators because they were being used in order to help patients breathe due to COVID impairing lung function.
“So, what we did first and foremost, is work really hard to provide as many devices as possible to those patients who needed them most. We reconfigured our supply chain and over the first six months of 2020 managed to produce 150,000 ventilators. That is three and a half times more than we did previously.
“In parallel to that, what we quickly realised is that for patients on ventilation, particularly those that needed ventilation support in the home, there was a need to provide an element of remote monitoring because the hospitals were very much focusing on the acute phase and treating patients with COVID in hospital settings.
“So, that’s where we reprioritised our R&D roadmap and focused on delivering AirView, which is our remote monitoring system for ventilators, and we accelerated the release of that system in Europe to enable digital pathways.”
With the AirView platform, clinicians and care providers can remotely monitor their patients’ respiratory rate and SpO2 or blood oxygen saturation, as well as securely review a patient’s therapy parameters and breathing statistics via their computer or smart device from any location.
“That was really how we focused on increasing our hardware output to make sure we got out as many ventilators as we could. But at the same time, rollouts are connected to our software components so that digital and remote pathways could be enabled to manage and continue care during the crisis.
“Our customers quickly realised that with ResMed, we have technologies that enable us to provide care closer to home without having to bring the patients to hospital.
“The clinical staff can really focus on clinical assessment, clinical diagnosis and clinical management, and we take care of using digital technology and the logistics part.
“We have seen a lot of a lot of adoption of that service because, in essence, it enables you to continue to operate in a COVID environment.”
Valterio also discussed his expectations for the adoption of digital healthcare in a post-COVID landscape.
“There is a recognition of how the NHS has been able to very quickly adopt digital technologies in a very short amount of time, and it’s been completely unprecedented.
“I think one of the areas that will be very important is to have an environment that is conducive of the mass adoption of those technologies and I think we need to probably look at other countries which have been fairly successful in driving adoption of digital health technologies.
“I think it comes down to a couple of things. The first big thing is, having some central policies dedicated to those types of technologies that help get this adoption.
“The second element, of course, is the funding element. If there are incentives that help drive those behaviours towards digital health, then I think we should be in a really good spot to continue to see that adoption at scale, all across the UK.”