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Posts tagged ‘telehealth’

How can we maximise the benefits of telehealth for patients across the UK?

Doctor checking man's blood pressure in exam room

Telehealth can help patients manage their own condition aided by technology instead of them having to stay in hospital. Photograph: MBI/Alamy

Technology-enabled integrated care is working well for many health organisations, helping patients stay in their own homes

There is no doubt about it, for those of us in the telehealth industry, this month has seen a disappointing development.

The Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) project presented its second stage of research findings, which reported no evidence base to show that telehealth improves people’s quality of life.

Having worked for more than 18 years as both a nurse and telehealth specialist, I find it amazing that we are still talking about whether it works. Based on my experience, the question should be “how can we make it work?”.

This is particularly important for the incoming clinical commissioning groups, which will undoubtedly find it a daunting prospect to contemplate the shape and composition of future service delivery upon reading these challenging results.

With a swiftly ageing population on the one hand and ongoing budget restrictions on the other, the results have called into perspective an ever-more-urgent need to look at how to create a sustainable delivery model for the future.

We must not forget, however, that technology-enabled integrated care is working well for many health organisations and patients across the UK.

The respected health thinktank 2020health recently published the findings of its own study of a telehealth hub pilot in Yorkshire. There it found that telehealth-enabled care co-ordination can reduce hospital admissions, provide care at home and improve patient outcomes.

It noted that for every 100 patients being telemonitored, 10 hospital admissions are averted each month – that’s up to £2,000 saved per averted admission, representing a return on investment of 48%. Thirty of our own studies have found similar benefits.

It is also important to install and maintain a consistent approach to telehealth-enabled care including best practice and implementation across the study groups. Our experience shows that the optimal impact of a telehealth-enabled programme is observed between 18 months and two years. The results were based on a 12-month review.

Those who we speak to in frontline medicine will attest to the power of having patients living in their own homes, managing their own conditions aided by technology.

These “on the ground” results are, more often than not, the product of integrated delivery systems being put into practice through healthcare and industry partnerships that are dealing with populations with high numbers of people with chronic conditions.

I do not doubt the very real benefits that technology-enabled care can have on people’s health and wellbeing and, in turn, the positive impact this will have on their communities. From what I have read so far, nothing in the WSD reports will change that.

guardian –

Progressing towards using telehealth

Telehealth will not take away the personal interaction with hospital staff.

SINGAPORE: REMOTE CARE: A growing ageing population, shortage of doctors and nurses are leading to change

HOSPITALS in Malaysia should consider investing more in telehealth to improve healthcare delivery and efficiency in the country.

Telehealth or telemedicine involves the use of proprietary software and electronic devices with audio and visual capabilities to assist in the provision of medical care to patients.

“With only 30 intensivists (intensive care unit specialists) in Malaysia, remote areas with less developed healthcare facilities, for example in East Malaysia, can capitalise on the expertise available in the peninsula by centrally managing patients across the nation.

“This would help improve the overall healthcare quality across the whole country,” said Philips Healthcare Asia Pacific senior vice-president and commercial leader Wayne Spittle in an interview during a healthcare session at the Philips Asia Media Summit here recently.

Spittle said telehealth solutions would not take away the personal interaction between patients and hospital staff as it still provides the human touch through its audio and visual capabilities.

“There is immediate medical attention throughout the day, unlike the standard mode of operation today, where patients need to wait to receive medical attention because of travel time between wards and across the entire hospital.”

Several countries have begun capitalising on telehealth.

At a general hospital in Orange, New South Wales, Australia, beds have been linked to a clinical information portfolio computer system to give staff immediate access to patients’ conditions from a central location.

Singapore hospitals have invested in ICU IT solutions to enable critical care medical staff to actively monitor patients in ICUs from remote locations.

The Hanh Phuc International Women and Children hospital in Vietnam has a central maternal-fetal monitoring station as well as wireless foetal monitoring solutions which provide clinicians with vital information to track patients throughout the labour and delivery period.

Surgeons at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, the United States, use a robotic system controlled from a remote location to unblock the arteries of patients with blocked peripheral arteries. Using video and integrated medical devices, medical experts are now providing services to communities in the most remote areas.

Industry analyst Datamonitor estimated that this year, the global spending on overall telehealth market (including home telehealth) will exceed US$6 billion (RM18.4 billion).

Spittle said with a growing ageing populations, the rise of chronic non-communicable diseases and the shortage of doctors and nurses, hospitals would lead the shift to telehealth solutions.

Read more: Progressing towards using telehealth – General – New Straits Times

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