NEW YORK (CBS News) — A new, innovative program is helping lung transplant patients do most of their monitoring after surgery from the comfort of their home.
Doctors say the program has big benefits. About 45 patients are currently participating in the remote monitoring and telemedicine program.
72-year-old Raymond Wykerd has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was put on a waiting list for a lung transplant. Eventually, doctors at NYU Langone Health found a match.
Wykerd said “They took me into surgery. I woke up. I felt like a new man.”
After transplant surgery, constant monitoring is necessary to ensure patients are recovering well. That often means many trips back to the hospital. But thanks to an app on his phone, Wykerd is now able to do much of that close follow-up at home. The technology allows him to have regularly scheduled visits with his doctors by video chat.
Wykerd checks his vitals like his blood pressure, temperature, and lung capacity which are automatically sent to his doctors in real-time every day.
Dr. Luis Angel, chair of lung transplantation at NYU Langone Health, says they are looking for “any changes on the lung capacity, maybe a marker that there may be an infection or rejection.”
Dr. Angel says those are two critical areas to watch. He says a constant connection with patients who are far away can also save time and money.
“We have the possibility to find issues earlier which is vital,” he says.
Wykerd says he loves the convenience of the technology and the reassurance it brings.
“It’s given me a lot more peace of mind that I can now be in contact with the team at the drop of a pin.” He says he hopes more transplant patients can benefit the way he has.