New remote health monitor delivers blood pressure, glucose data to doctors in real-time

In the medical world, diabetes and high blood pressure are known as "silent killers," because patients often miss symptoms until it's too late. Without regular doctors' visits, medical professionals don't always see signs of trouble either. 

"Diabetes can sit there unmanaged for years and years and years and that's how it does all the harm," said Dr. Peter Litchfield, an emergency medical physician. 

Litchfield said the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more challenging for patients with chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, to stay on top of their medical conditions. Many doctors' offices closed or canceled non-emergency appointments. Patients also stayed away, not wanted to risk potential exposure to a virus that takes a heavier toll on people with diabetes and heart disease.  

That's when, he said, he had the idea to create a system that could connect doctors with real-time data right from a patient's home.  

"If you think about what we do in the E.R., we monitor patients second by second, minute by minute. That's how we keep them alive," said Litchfield. "I wanted to bring that very same level of care from the E.R. to patients who are right at home."

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Litchfield calls the service CopilotIQ. 

"If you stay on top of monitoring your vitals, if you have the devices right there by your side, like a copilot, then you can keep your disease under control," said Litchfield. 

If a doctor or nurse spots a reading that looks off, they can intervene right away. 

"If my blood pressure is running normal, and then it spikes up or spikes down, they will call and say, hey, what are you doing?" said Michael Eak, who began using CopilotIQ to monitor his blood pressure and glucose levels last fall. "Before, I was just watching how I felt and testing myself on my own. By having this system, I know I have a set of doctors looking after me."

Litchfield said his system eliminates the lag time between doctor's visits. By pulling in data on a consistent and far more frequent basis, he's able to help patients faster and more efficiently.

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"Now, I can look at data on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day, and then meet virtually with patients on a very regular basis," Litchfield said. "By constantly monitoring, we can adjust medications, start new medicines, or refer folks to see specialists when there's something that jumps out at us."

Each week patients get a call from their CopilotIQ nurse to check in on them and review their vitals. Litchfield said it's a good motivator for patients to keep on top of monitoring. 

Eak said he feels like he now has a better understanding of what the numbers mean and how to keep them in the safe zone. 

"My health has improved by doing the meters," said Eak. "I know when they go up, it tells me, okay, you need to get up out of your bed or your seat. You need to go move around." 

The service is free for Medicare patients and works with most insurance providers. Consult with your doctor to find out if the service might be right for you. To learn more about CopilotIQ and to enroll visit