After many years of successful trialing, patients with long term conditions are finally to be offered technology support to help them manage their conditions.
Telehealth and telecare use electronic equipment to read vital health signs such as pulse, weight, respiration and blood oxygen levels, which can be read remotely by health professionals in a different location. It means that people can stay in the comfort of their own homes with the peace of mind that a doctor or nurse will be alerted should there be a problem. People with long-term conditions see doctors and nurses more frequently and £7 out of every £10 spent on the health budget go towards supporting them.
It is planned that some 100,000 people will benefit from new health technologies in 2013. The longer term target is for 3 million people being able to benefit from telehealth by 2017.
This commitment makes England the leading centre for telehealth outside the US. Tenders for the work are being developed and the NHS Commissioning Board will lead on promoting telehealth from April next year. Leading technology companies will be supplying the NHS with the technologies and services at no upfront cost.
Research funded by the Department of Health showed that using telehealth could result in a 20% reduction in emergency admissions, a 15% reduction in A&E visits and a 45% reduction in mortality.