Eating Disorders and remote patient monitoring

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses, and anyone, no matter what their age, ethnicity, or gender can develop one. Tracey Downes and Dawn Watson, Tunstall’s Clinical Application Specialists tell us more.

Eating Disorders and remote patient monitoring

Mar 4, 2021

Eating disorders affect over 1.25 million people in the UK and around 25% of this number are male.

Types of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED)

The COVID 19 pandemic has seen a huge impact on everyone’s daily activities, disruption to routines, social isolation, a reduction in social support, all which can impact greatly on patients who are living with an eating disorder.

How can telehealth help patients?

Telehealth enables vulnerable patients of all ages to monitor their health in their own home, by providing a tailored monitoring programme suitable for their condition. It can also help in supporting parents or carers to support children with eating disorders.

Clinical information is sent directly to their healthcare team, enabling the patient to receive support in a timely manner.

Clinical information collected by the system includes:

  • Blood pressure (from a lying and standing position)
  • Temperature
  • Weight
  • Set of simple questions about their symptoms relevant to their eating disorder
  • Ability to Video conference care team for support
  • Ability to send messages to the care team

How can telehealth support clinicians?

Telehealth offers an effective means of delivering care for patients with eating disorders by:

  • Supporting clinicians in identifying patients who may be showing early signs of deterioration, weight loss/weight gain/anxiety/change in behaviours
  • Prioritising workloads, enabling patients to be contacted quickly and interventions put into place
  • Providing video conference when required
  • Enabling clinicians to remotely monitor patients through the collection of vital sign data and patient reported symptoms

Although especially valuable during the pandemic, remote monitoring can also have much longer term benefits when incorporated into care pathways, such as helping patients to gain confidence in managing their own condition, feeling supported on an ongoing basis and reducing the stress of travelling to face-to-face consultations. Earlier intervention can also help to avoid the need for hospital or clinic admission, improving wellbeing for some patients.

Find out more in our case study

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